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“Poured into golden cups

On a tarnished Chinese tray

It scatters the torments from the chest

And replaces them with joy”

Abdelhaq Almarini, a Moroccan Poet

Tea drinking in Morocco is a communal activity, with friends, family, and guests gathering to share a pot of mint tea. It is often served in small glasses, and the act of pouring and serving the tea is considered an art form, with specific gestures and etiquette associated with the process. The tradition of tea consumption in Morocco reflects the country’s emphasis on hospitality, social connection, and the importance of taking time to savor the simple pleasures of life.

Tea has been a significant part of my family’s lifestyle for generations. My grandfather, who lived to be 110 years old, and my dad, who is currently 117, both consumed large amounts of tea. I have often wondered if their longevity could be attributed, at least in part, to their tea consumption. The potential health benefits of tea, such as its antioxidant properties and potential protective effects against certain diseases, may have contributed to their long and healthy lives. While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reasons for their longevity, the role of tea in their lives is certainly an interesting factor to consider.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the British introduced gunpowder tea to North Africa, specifically in Morocco and Algeria, where it was then passed on to other North African countries and nomadic tribes. The tea, often mixed with mint, became popular and its consumption was associated with power and prestige. Jewish merchants played a significant role in the tea’s distribution, bringing it from Europe to the Moroccan port of Essaouira.

The tea ceremony, which was already widespread in Morocco during the 1840s, became a symbol of status and sophistication in urban areas. However, it wasn’t until the famines of the 1880s that tea consumption became more widespread among rural populations, who saw it as a source of emergency calories, an appetite suppressant, and a way to acculturate to urban life.

In the late 19th century, Sufi leaders such as Muhammad Bin Abdul-Kabir Al-Kattani attempted to discourage their followers from drinking tea as part of a boycott against European-imported sugar and tea. By the early 20th century, mint tea had become firmly established in Moroccan culture.

Gunpowder tea, also known as “pearl tea” or “moroccan mint tea” is an integral part of the country’s tea consumption tradition.

In Morocco, the tradition of tea consumption is deeply ingrained in the culture and social customs. Tea is not just a beverage, but a symbol of hospitality, friendship, and social interaction. The preparation and serving of tea in Morocco is a ritualistic process, often performed by the head of the household or a designated tea master. The tea is brewed with fresh mint leaves and a generous amount of sugar, creating a sweet and refreshing flavor that is enjoyed throughout the day.

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