Berber Whiskey a.k.a Moroccan Tea

24.05.18 07:04 AM By Putri

Apart from addicted to good coffee, I also can’t skip a day without tea. I grew up drinking jasmine black tea, at least two times a day; at breakfast and in the afternoon. Like the British really, only without extending our pinky fingers while drinking tea.

There is to say, a good tea for me is a simple brewed tea leaves, black or green, with or without a hint of one type of flower or other plant. I am not fond of tisane (brewed potpourri, more like it to me). Drinking tea is both social and cultural for most of the countries, it interests me to know the tea habit of each country I visit.

The Berber Whisky

Popular throughout the Maghreb Region, including Morocco, is a concentrated brew of sweetened tea with mint served in tiny glass (like the one for Turkish tea). This tea is known as the Berber whisky.

Tea leaves and tea drinking was only introduced to the Maghreb, Morocco in general around the 12th century through trading with China, yet it has become a part of Moroccan culture symbol. As any other tea role in any culture in the world, mint tea plays a central role in Maghrebian (Moroccan in general) social life. It is consumed daily by the locals, it is also a gesture of welcome and hospitality to serve guests on visits or ceremonies. 

There’s nothing complicated in preparing this tea (or so it seemed to me). In a decent restaurant, you will get a Moroccan tea pot for yourself (a cute stainless steel pot that tends to burn your bare hand if you forgot to use a napkin to hold it), filled with boiling strong gunpowder tea and generous amount of fresh mint leaves (which they literally dunk twigs of mint into the boiling tea). I strongly suggest you to ask for the sugar on the side, because the Moroccan tends to like their tea diabetically sweet. 

The tea leaves and mint twigs are left in the pot which make the tea becomes stronger and bitter the longer you wait. There is also a fancy technique should be applied on pouring the tea. You should pour it into the glass from high above, hoping that you have good aiming and steady hands, or you will make a hot burning mess smell like mints all over the place. This technique is used to aerate the tea to improve its flavor and at the same time cool it down a bit. 

The smallest single tea pot can serve up to three servings, because traditionally the tea is served three times. Each serving has unique flavor due to the amount of time the tea has been steeping. Each serving also has a philosophical meaning: 

It’s wise, sweet, and grim at the same time, and it’s all come out of a pot of tea. That’s Moroccan philosophy for you. 

What is it taste like? To me it tastes like a boiling Listerine with absurd amount of sweetness. It’s good tho, and it’s kind of grew on me after a while.