There are a few ‘must do’ things when you’re travelling around Morocco, and one of them is to attend a genuine and traditional tea ceremony. Apart from the fact that Moroccan tea is delicious – it’s green tea with fresh mint and honey – the way the tea is served and presented is beautiful, and the ritual that goes along with the tea is meaningful.
Tea rituals take place all the time in Morocco. At home, before a man goes off to work, a wife will make her husband tea. Tea is served before the kids go to school. When friends come to visit, the tea ritual is an important one, at all times of day. And at night, before everyone goes to bed, families gather, make tea and drink it together, acknowledging the importance of the home and of one another.
Serving tea in Morocco is also about hospitality. If you are shopping in Morocco, you are going to be offered tea. It doesn’t mean you need to buy anything, quite the contrary. You only need to take a few minutes out of your day to sit with your hosts, drink tea together and chat a little. It’s a way for your hosts to tell you how much they appreciate you and respect you, and it is a way for you to appreciate and respect them too.
Tea is usually prepared in front of the guests. It includes boiling water on top of a stove, rinsing out the teapot, and then, filling the teapot with the boiling water, adding green tea leaves through a strainer, allowing it to sit and steep a while, stirring it and then adding fresh springs of mint. Sometimes cubes of sugar are added, sometimes honey is offered separately. I would always say yes to honey!
Once the tea is ready, the host or hostess will set the teapot, beautiful Moroccan tea glasses and a bowl of honey on a silver tray. She will bring it over to the guests and then being the ritual of pouring the tea. The pouring is done from a height, a foot or so from above the teacups. Watching the tea being poured is an art in itself and we suggest you get your cameras ready.
Everybody sits and drinks together. The cups are quite small and the host will offer a second cup. We don’t know anyone who says no. The tea is hot, sweet, fragrant and divine. It’s about ritual, tradition, getting to know one another and showing respect to one another. If somebody offers you tea in Morocco, it’s a good idea to say yes. You may be invited to a tea ceremony in somebody’s home, or you may be invited to a tea ceremony as you are travelling, exploring, wandering or shopping. Tea ceremonies are a big part of Moroccan life and it’s a real privilege to join in the ritual.
You may even want to buy a beautiful Moroccan tea set to bring home. You’ll find them at the markets.