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Month: January 2015

Trying Some Mint Green Tea in Morocco

Trying Some Mint Green Tea in Morocco

I love traveling the world. I love seeing new places, meeting new people and eating delicious new foods. I love experiencing new things. Maybe most of all, I love trying tea from around the world. Of course, the more tea I try from different countries, the more I realize that I don’t actually like the way most countries have their tea. Mainly this is because of the sugar. I’ve learned that most countries put a lot of sugar in their tea and I simply don’t like that.

Moroccan mint tea
Mint tea being poured in Tangier, Morocco

In fact, the only countries I’ve been to where they don’t put sugar in their tea are Japan and China. Everywhere else, no matter how much they claim they like tea, they always mask the flavor of the tea with sugar. I guess what they really like is sugar.

Even countries like Turkey and India, which are famous for tea, don’t actually drink real tea. They drink sugar with a tea flavor. In many cases, like India, they also put a lot of milk in the tea. That all said, I suppose I do understand that, in a case like India. The tea leaves they use for their tea are of such a low-quality that it makes sense to mask the flavor much is possible.

Anyway, let’s get to the point. A few years ago I had the chance to travel to Morocco. I spent a few hours in Tangiers and then several days in Marrakesh. I didn’t have more time to explore the rest of the country. That was a shame. I really like what I saw and would have loved to see more.

The food in Morocco is amazing and I loved every meal I had. Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for the tea. That’s not to say it was bad. I ordered a number of mint teas and they tasted quite good. I love the flavor of mint and it was mixed with green tea which I love too. The problem, as is so often the case, was that they put a ton of sugar in it. To me, this ruins the flavor. It leaves your mouth with a sticky aftertaste and it doesn’t quench your thirst.

Moroccan man pouring mint tea
A man pouring Moroccan mint tea at a local tea ceremony

This is a shame, because the whole ritual that goes along with their tea is actually quite interesting. You may have seen the way they pour the tea—how they raise the kettle so high above the glass as they are pouring and then lower it again. This really infuses the tea with a lot of air. If only they could leave out the sugar, I think they would really be onto something.

Of course, there would still be one more problem and that is the quality of their tea leaves. Perhaps you can get good leaves in Morocco, I don’t know. The ones we were drinking were pretty cheap, though. Since they were masked with mint and sugar, you couldn’t really notice, so it was okay.

It only became a problem when I decided to buy a bag of loose tea in the market. I could immediately see that the leaves were very low-quality and nowhere near the quality of a good Japanese tea or a good Chinese tea. Actually they weren’t even near the quality of the worst teas you get in those countries. To put it bluntly, the leaves were absolute crap quality.

When I brewed this tea at home it tasted horrible. If I had masked it with sugar like the Moroccans do, I suppose it would have tasted better. Well, not better, since the sugar isn’t really a great flavor with the tea, but it would have hidden how bad the tea was. You know what I mean.

During my time in Morocco I also tried their ginger tea. This was much more enjoyable, since they didn’t put any sugar in it. Of course, ginger tea is not real tea. It is simply hot water with ginger in it. It is quite strong, but it is very enjoyable, especially on a cold evening. I liked this tea a lot, but obviously, it is not really tea.

If you ever make it to Morocco, don’t let anything I wrote here dissuade you from trying their tea. It might not come anywhere near Japanese tea or Chinese tea, but a Moroccan mint tea is still enjoyable on some level. If you actually like sweet drinks, then you will probably love this tea. Because really, the main problem with it is the sugar. Of course, if you remove the sugar then the main problem becomes the low quality tea leaves, so I guess you need to add sugar. Anyway, the point is, give it a try if you get a chance. Let me know what you think about it.