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Posted by on Apr 30, 2012 in Africa, Morocco

Moroccan Mint Tea; An offering of Friendship

Moroccan Mint Tea; An offering of Friendship

Mint is everywhere in Moroccan. It is traditional; it is typical. The teapots are fancy, the cups are engraved, The pouring is dramatic, and the sharing of Mint tea is an offering of kindness.The first day off from my workaway I headed into the Medina with the other workawayer. I wanted to experience the haggling, the gorgeous trinkets, and the haggling. I wanted to take it all in. When we entered a carved wood shop we were in awe of the craftmenship and beauty of the items. Abdul introduced himself and asked if we’d like to see how the process works; we said we had no money and couldn’t buy; he said he wanted to be our friend. He offered us to sit and to share Mint Tea; Thus we were adopted by a new Moroccan friend. 

I’ll admit, I was weary at first of the offering of Mint Tea. Perhaps after we become “friends” they would require I buy something to show my “friendship”. All of these thoughts were quickly displaced when it became apparent after 1+ hour tea talks that they truly wanted to be my friend. Mint Tea is a true offering and one without attachments.

 

Abdul showed us his craft. How the wood was carved and how the intricate details were put in. The wood used; cyprus, lemon, walnut. Explain that smaller pieces are more expensive because the intricate work requires more delicate hands than larger pieces. We discussed our families, our friends, our beliefs. He kept saying “I am your friend right?“. I couldn’t help but smile.

We talked so long, lunch passed by. When our stomachs started to grumble he extended the offer to share lunch together; “We’ll buy from a local place – 5 Dirham only“. We gladly accepted – $0.70 for lunch – who could turn that down? We are both vegetarians, so he ordered us Salads and we bought fresh-straight-from-the-oven, still warm bread. We went up to Abdul’s rooftop terrace and continued our conversation. More Mint tea followed lunch and more conversations about life.

Moroccan mint tea (Atay Bi Nahna) has none of the teabags and boxes of western culture. Moroccan Mint Tea is pure mint leaves steeped in green tea. All natural mint – the Moroccan national drink. One is offered three glasses of mint tea according to an old proverb: The first glass is as bitter as life,the second glass is as strong as love, the third glass is as gentle as death.

Abdul showed us local “herbs” and smoking in a traditional pipe. He guided us around the Medina and brought us to the workshops; copper carving, teapot detailing, jewellery making. Things we would struggle to find on our own. “I am not your tour guide; I am your friend“. We went to a cafe to share more Mint tea.

Mint tea started this friendship, and I’m sure it will sustain us throughout. Next week Abdul offered to take us to Essaouira or Ait Ben Haddou.

Thank You Moroccan Mint Tea

*These Photos are courtesy of Steph Alman over at Tasting Independence

 

3 Comments

    • Its so yummy – I take it without sugar otherwise I can’t taste the mint – only sugar.

  1. Great post. It reminds me of the time I was in Marrakech and went into a shopkeeper’s shop and, without any pressure to by anything, but just genuine friendliness, we had a long chat over several glasses of mint tea, and chatted about so much. It is one of my favourite memories of the country.