Moroccan Tea Ceremony

The Moroccan Tea Ceremony began in the 18th Century when the British introduced tea to Morocco.  Muslims were not allowed to drink alcohol due to religious restrictions and so they found tea to be a refreshing alternative. It became hugely popular and was accessible to everyone.  It didn't matter if you were a poor man or the sultan, everyone would enjoy brewing up a cup of Moroccan mint tea.
Today, tea is a huge part of Moroccan culture and lifestyle.  Tea is consumed before school, before bed and when friends come to visit.
Tea is often just made in the kitchen for family members, or a tea ceremony can take place.  These ceremonies last between 30 minutes to an hour in duration and is steeped in hospitality and respect. The Moroccan tea culture is all about being warm and welcoming, unhurried and artful, gentle and graceful.

Morocco also has many beautiful tea houses in which visitors can enjoy the true Moroccan tea experience.  

Inside of a moroccan tea house

Inside a Moroccan Tea House

How to Prepare for the Moroccan Tea Ceremony

The entire process of preparing, pouring and serving tea in Morocco is called Atai.  The process of Atai is such a huge part of the Moroccan culture that it actually considered rude to refuse the tea.

Ingredients:  Gunpowder green tea, fresh mint leaves, sugar, honey, boiling water

Equipment needed: Tea pots, glass cups


1) The host or hostess sits before a tray holding decorated glasses and two tea pots.  The host begins by rinsing the tea pots with boiling water.
2) He then then adds the green tea and mint leaves to each pot and rinses the leaves with a little boiling water. The water is discarded.
3) Sugar is added to the pots and the host fills them with boiling water. The tea steeps for several minutes before being stirred, and then the host fills the tea glasses halfway while pouring simultaneously from both pots. The pouring is usually done from a height of twelve inches or more.  This height provides a frothy top to the tea and signifies a good brew.
4) While the guests drink their first glass of tea, which is quite strong, the host will replenish the pots with more tea leaves and sugar. Large handfuls of fresh mint will also be added, and then the host again fills the pots with boiling water. It is this second pot of tea, fragrant with mint and usually heavily sweetened, that has gained fame both within and outside of Morocco.
But the tea ceremony need not stop there. In Saharan Tradition, a third pot is traditionally brewed while the second is enjoyed, making teatime a leisurely affair.  A famous Moroccan saying goes like this:

The first glass is as bitter as life,

the second glass is as strong as love,

the third glass is as gentle as death. 

Moroccan tea ceremony showing pouring of the tea from a height
Moroccon Tea is poured from a teapot held high in the air.
These days, tea is more likely to be prepared in the kitchen before being brought before the guests. Nonetheless, if you’ve had the opportunity to have mint tea served by a Moroccan, you’ll probably agree that tea time can be quite impressive and is an ultimate way to relax with friends and family.
If you would like to try to brew your own Moroccan tea, you can purchase gunpowder green tea from our website.
Moroccan tea ceremony - tea being poured