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Everything You See I Owe to Mint Tea
Moroccan Mint tea, also known as Atay, is well beyond a delicious hot drink, it’s a way of life. It is about togetherness, good times and slow living. A moment of Beauty, specifically Moroccan Beauty.
"Moroccan Mint tea, also known as Atay, is well beyond a delicious hot drink, it’s a way of life. It is about togetherness, good times and slow living. A moment of Beauty, specifically Moroccan Beauty.
It starts with the preparation: tea leaves, boiling water, sugar and most importantly local Moroccan mint also known as Naana.
The love story between Moroccans and green tea seems to have started when a British ship full of green tea on its way back from Asia sank off the coast of Casablanca, thus introducing green tea to Moroccan shores. Mint has always been locally grown, and an exclusive obsession of locals.
Considered much more than a warm mixture of leaves and sugar, the tea presentation is even more scripted than the preparation. A traditional silver teapot, or berrad, which is engraved by hand, sits in the center of a beautiful silver tray, or senia, surrounded by a minimum of three glasses (the more the merrier!). In Morocco, we do not drink our tea alone; it’s an excuse to gather with others, our friends, family and sometimes even strangers.
It is a moment of Beauty. The room bubbles with animated chatter and ringing laughter. From the artful silverware and the ritualistic pouring to the golden-green tea crowned with foam and the clinking of glasses, the indulgent experience is not to be missed.
It transports your mind and uplifts your soul.
Every time I look at a senia, I time travel to my childhood visits with my grandmother, where she would preside over a tray of tea, surrounded by friends or family. A ritual that has been treasured for centuries, and embodies our society’s values: connection, warmth, and slow living.
It’s our language of love.
During a difficult stretch in lockdown, my sister and I wondered what we could do to soothe our souls. Spontaneously, we both said: drinking mint tea with our mother (Note: my sister doesn’t even drink tea).
Despite spending most of my adult life outside of Morocco, I still consciously and subconsciously cling to this ritual to connect and relax. I love nothing more than making Moroccan tea for the people I love – in fact, I always do this when hosting, big events or small. Occasionally, I do it on-the-go for the team at the whind HQ.
If I really love you, I might even share the recipe so you can feel its magical virtues. And here it is:
What you need:
Fresh mint tea
Dried Green tea loose leaves
A Moroccan tea pot or if not available a tea pot that could be heated
What you do:
Heat your water until boiling (approx. 750ml)
In a clean tea pot, pour a table spoon of dried green tea leaves. Add a bit of boiling water. And rinse to take out the bitter edge of the tea leaves.
Add 2 handfuls of fresh mint leaves to the rinsed tea
Add 4 table spoon of sugar (although here you can go as low or as high as your heart desires)
Pour the boiling water on the mixture
The secret is to then put back the tea pot on the heat and watch it closely as it boils again.
Pour a small sample to test the sweetness and adjust as you see fit
Grab a tray with few glasses and call your friends for a chat that might require you making another pot or 2."