Moroccan Mint Tea
Makes about 25 glasses. Add 1tsp of mint tea and 5tsp sugar to a small teapot, add about 1/2 pint of boiling water and leave to sit for 5min.
Serve in tea glasses.
Mint tea, known as atay bi nahna, is a national drink in Morocco, and is an integral part of Moroccan hospitality.
A steaming glass of the fragrant, sweet, light tea is offered as a sign of welcome. It is drunk in the morning, offered throughout the day while bargaining, conducting business and at the end of the meal to aid digestion.
A blend of Chinese gunpowder green tea and fresh mint, traditionally sweetened with at least four sugar lumps per glass, it is incredibly refreshing on a hot day.
Tea only arrives in Morocco in 1854 when, during the Crimean War, the blockade of the Baltic sea drove British merchants to seek new markets for their goods and they disposed of stocks of tea in Tangier and Mogador.
At feasts and on special occasions, mint tea making can be an elaborate ceremony: the best green tea is chosen and only fresh spearmint (mentha spicata) is used. A fine silver-plated, bulbous-shaped teapot is selected for brewing and the heavily sweetened tea is poured rhythmically into fine glasses. For additional ceremony, a fresh, fragrant orange blossom or jasmine flower may be floated in each glass.