The preparation and serving of tea is considered an art in Morocco, and chief to both are the proper pot, glasses, and the special 3-legged tray ("sinya") on which it's usually served. The teapots come in 3 sizes (individual, 2 people, and large for families), and are crafted of tin, brass, aluminum, or silver alloys. Depending upon social rank, teapots might be engraved sterling or gold plated. Almost all but the poorest families will have an elaborate tea set including a decorative tray and glasses. Tea is almost always made in front of the guests so that the tea set and service can be admired. Moroccan teapots have long, curved pouring spouts that allow the tea to be poured into even the tiniest of glasses from a height of 2 or more feet. Moroccans like their tea lightly flavored with herbs. The most popular herbs added to tea are mint, louisa, lemon grass, and sometimes orange blossom. Moroccan Mint Tea is generally made by brewing a gunpowder tea mixed with mint (1 teaspoon tea per cup). Gunpowder tea is Chinese green tea rolled into small pellets, which look like old-fashioned gunpowder. The Chinese call it zucha or pearl tea for the same reason. Rolling the tea leaves into balls helps to preserve the flavor. The offering of a glass of green tea with mint is a symbol of friendship, welcome and hospitality.
- 4 teaspoons Moroccan or green tea leaves
- 24 fresh spearmint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 4 to 5 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
- 1 quart boiling water
Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Add boiling water to a teapot that holds about 4 cups water, and swirl to warm. Discard the water and add the tea, 24 mint leaves, and sugar to the teapot. Pour the quart of boiling water into the teapot and swirl once or twice to dissolve the sugar. Allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes.