Traditionally, mint tea is served three times, as described in this Maghrebi proverb:
“The first is as gentle as life, second is as strong as love, the third is a bitter as death.”
Many ancient cultures take their tea seriously. Japan and China have their elaborate tea ceremonies, Argentina has its Yerba Mate, the English have their afternoon tea time, etc. So does the Maghreb (North Africa countries). Especially in Algeria and Morocco, mint tea serves dual purposes- it is both a delicious drink to be enjoyed casually at any time of day, as well as a carefully orchestrated ritual. This recipe shortens that ritual down to minutes without sparing the teas fabulous taste.
Maghrebi Mint Tea- Algerian Mint Tea
- Teapot or saucepan
- Drip coffee maker or melior
- Small strainer
- 1 tbls Chinese Gunpowder green tea leaves (Sub: any green tea)
- 4 tbls Granulated sugar
- 4 sprigs Fresh spearmint (Sub: 1 tsp dried spearmint per sprig)
- 1 dash Orange blossom water or other aromatic (optional)
- Place green tea leaves into a saucepan with the water, bring to a boil, then turn heat off. Let tea steep for 15 minutes.
- Strain the steeped tea into another saucepan or tea pot, making sure to remove tea leaves and residue.
- Add sugar and boil over medium heat for 2 minutes to dissolve. Turn off heat and add mint. Leave for 2 more minutes and strain tea into a fancy tea pot and serve in a small glass or tea cup, or just unceremoniously pour into mugs. Serve garnished with a small sprig of mint and a cookie or pastry.
- Mint tea is equally as good served cold. Instead of straining hot brewed tea into a tea pot or mugs, let tea cool and pour over ice in tall glasses. Garnish with a lemon slice.