As every social intercourse in Morocco starts with mint tea, we too began our class with Berber tea ceremony. “Mint tea”, explained our host, “has a basis of gunpowder tea.” He then (while cooking is women’s work; the tea making is a man’s job) placed the tea leaves in a teapot and added a small amount of boiling water. Having let it steep for about 30 seconds he poured the liquid out and set it aside. This deeply flavoured liquid from the first infusion adds depth of flavour to the final cup of tea. He poured a small amount of boiling water on the leaves again and then discarded it. The tea was now clean and any potential bitterness lessened.
He then added a handful of spearmint leaves, a few sprigs of rosemary, marjoram and scented geranium.
* Recipes available upon request.