When I learnt that tea is at the core of Moroccan culture, I felt a stab of anxiety. I may be British but I am not a tea drinker.
This is not for the lack of trying, I have longed to be one of those sophisticated people who meets up with old friends in a tea room for a catch up.I assumed things would be different when I grew older, all grown ups like tea right? Not so. To dislike tea as an adult is embarrassing. As someone who prefers to avoid any human interaction that may make me feel uncomfortable, tea is an absolute nightmare for me. I still cringe when I decline a hot drink and ask for a squash. As if this refusal of hospitality isn’t awkward enough, the person offering the tea looks at you like you have just declared you want to attach clothes pegs to your nipples. Tea definitely makes me uneasy.
I had heard it was rude to refuse a cup of Morocco’s traditional tea and had been considering how to tactfully decline from the moment I stepped off the plane. All of these anxieties begin to well up inside of me as I sit looking at the glass of mint tea in front of me. I can see things floating in it — not a great start. After careful consideration, I decided. I didn’t want to offend my kindly host and therefore I would drink the tea. I took a deep breath and sipped the boiling water from the ornate glass. And then something amazing happened. To my own shock and amazement, what coursed down my throat was not bitter tasting hot water but the most sweet syrup I had ever tasted. I paused and looked with wide eyes at Tim. ‘I love it,’ I said.
It has taken me nearly 27 years to find a tea that I actually enjoy. I was born in England and made China my home; potentially the two countries most famous for their love of tea. Morocco has a lot to offer visitors but as far as I am concerned, the tea is reason enough to make the trip. The next time someone asks me whether I want tea, I can answer like a normal human being and reply with ‘Yes, mint please.’ Whilst I realise the likelihood of someone outside of Morocco having this sweet mint tea is their house is slim, at least I will be cradling my glass of squash as a result of their limited tea palate as opposed to my reluctant rejection of British norms.
Have you ever tried Moroccan Mint Tea?