Moroccan-style mint tea (atai) is now commonly served all throughout the West Arab World (North Africa). It is served not only at mealtimes but all through the day, and it is especially a drink of hospitality, commonly served whenever there are guests. Unlike Moroccan food, which is cooked by women, this tea is traditionally a man's affair: prepared by the head of the family. It is served to guests and it is impolite to refuse it.
The method of preparation of atai is relatively complex and varies from region to region. It is normally sweeter in the north of Morocco than in the south, and in some places, pine nuts are added. In the winter, if mint is rare, sometimes leaves of wormwood are substituted for (or used to complement) the mint, giving the tea a distinctly bitter flavor. Lemon Verbena is also used to give it a lemony flavor.
The typical green tea used is a gunpowder tea variety imported from China. A simple and practical method runs as follows:
Traditionally the tea is served three times, and the amount of time the tea has been steeping gives each of the three glasses of tea a unique flavor, described in this famous proverb:
Le premier verre est aussi doux que la vie, The first glass is as gentle as life,
le deuxième est aussi fort que l'amour, the second glass is as strong as love,
le troisième est aussi amer que la mort. the third glass is as bitter as death.
INGREDIENTS (All USDA Certified Organic):
gunpowder green tea, spearmint leaves, peppermint leaves.
How to Prepare:
Use 1 Tablespoon per 16 to 24oz pot.
Use Boiling (212ºF.) water.
Steep for 3 to 5 Minutes.
Add Sugar to taste
Caffeine: 20 mg / 8 oz cup.