Locals refer to it as Berber Whiskey with a laugh, while tourists and locals alike gobble it up throughout the day. Prepared with fresh mint purchased daily at the local market, and green tea available throughout in the small corner shops, it’s sweetened with an incredible amount of sugar. Once boiled to perfection and poured into small tea cups, the Berber Whiskey is ready to enjoy.
A true Moroccan knows that it’s not about sipping mint tea in a fancy café, but rather this staple drink is prepared in the most unassuming locations – in back alleyways in the souks, in the homes over a Butagaz, or even by a traveling tea seller in the bustling marketplaces.
It’s not uncommon to start the day with a cup of mint tea. Or to continue drinking throughout the day, especially in winter months to keep warm. Don’t be surprised if you are served a cup of mint tea with dinner, especially when served lamb dishes including tanjia and mechoui. Locals know that a bowl of bessara is perfectly accompanied by a mint tea and fresh bread roll.
Tourist cafés tend to charge higher rates for rooftop tables, with a view coming at a premium, especially those overlooking Jemaa el Fna and Bab Boujloud in Fes. While it is certainly worth it for the views, expect to pay up to 20 Dirhams for a tea.
Expect to be offered a glass of mint tea upon arrival at someone’s home, in the souks when negotiating a sale, and even following a hammam. When serving the tea, the first glass is typically poured three times to ensure the tea is perfectly blended and sweetened. The oldest person in the room is always served first.
Each pot is freshly brewed to perfection, with the black tea added first and brought to a boil, followed by adding the mint and sugar. As it is often prepared on a gas stove, a fresh brew takes time. Expect to wait up to 15 minutes for your piping hot pot of tea to arrive.
Without sugar, mint tea is rather bitter. And the locals in Morocco like their mint tea sweet. Just how much sugar is added should remain a secret, but those who know how to prepare a pot know that several cubes are required to achieve the perfect sweetness.
If the tea isn’t sweet enough, you may be served a plate of Moroccan patisseries to accompany your sweet drink. Sticky, almond-filled pastries with pistachio and sweetened with honey, you’ll be provided with a variety to explore the sweet side of Morocco. A perfect afternoon treat.
As Starbucks and modern cafés open around Morocco, some of the best cafés remain those that opened decades ago with an authentic feel. Café de France in Jemaa el Fna, Patisserie Driss in Essaouira and the cafés surrounding Bab Boujloud are just a few places where you will see locals as well as tourists flocking for a cup of mint tea throughout the day.