MINT TEA atay bil naânaâ

Steeped with fresh spearmint leaves and sweetened with plenty of sugar, mint tea is
drunk by every class of person throughout the day—as an apéritif, as a digestive, and as
an accompaniment to meals, with grilled foods and with sweets.
Ways of preparing differ from house to house, as do strengths of the tea. In Fès and
Meknès, for instance, a more delicate, golden tone is often preferred, whereas in the
south, the tea tends to be stronger and darker. In winter, sprigs of fresh absinthe leaves
(shiba, see page 47) are commonly added to the pot. Especially in Marrakech and the
Atlas, other fresh herbs, such as marjoram, sage, and verbena, are paired with the mint.
Moroccans use loose-leaf Chinese gunpowder green tea leaves. Rinsing the leaves in the
pot with boiling water removes some of the bitterness and allows the tea to steep longer
with the mint. Use plenty of mint, as the brew should have almost a tingly, medicinal taste.

Level 2 tsp loose-leaf gunpowder green tea
1 cup/45 g firmly packed sprigs fresh mint or
a blend of mint and other fresh herbs, plus
sprigs for garnishing
2 Tbsp sugar, plus more if needed

In a kettle or saucepan, bring 3B⁄e cups/770 ml
water to a rolling boil. Keep at a boil while preparing
the tea.
In a teapot, place the tea leaves. Pour B⁄c cup/
120 ml of the boiling water over the leaves.
Let the teapot sit undisturbed for 10 seconds
and then swirl it for 5 seconds. Pour out all the
water, using a strainer if needed to ensure that
none of the tea leaves escapes.
Pour another B⁄c cup/120 ml of the boiling
water into the teapot, immediately swirl, and
pour out all of the water, again making sure none
of the tea leaves escapes.

Fill the teapot with the remaining 2B⁄e cups/
530 ml boiling water. Place the mint in the teapot
and press down with a spoon to gently crush
it. Sprinkle in the sugar. Cover and let steep
undisturbed for 2 minutes. Pour a glass of tea
and return it to the pot. Repeat two or three
more times to dissolve the sugar and blend the
flavors. Taste for sweetness, adding more sugar
if necessary or steeping the tea a bit longer to
make it stronger.
Pour into clear tea glasses through a strainer,
garnish with mint sprigs, and serve.


SPICED COFFEE qehwa m’attar