Moroccan Mint Tea and Henna Designs

Morocco is an Arabic country in Northern Africa. Beautifully ecologically diverse, Morocco is characterized by regions of both mountains and deserts. Today, the Arabic Flagship program at OU held a celebration of Moroccan heritage, complete with traditional Moroccan mint tea and henna designs. Moroccan mint tea is hot green tea flavored with sugar and spearmint leaves and it’s completely delicious. It’s poured from a special teapot, which makes the drink especially foamy and flavorful. Traditionally, it’s served three times, and the amount of time the tea has been steeping gives each glass a different flavor. If you want to make it at home, it’s fairly simple:

  • In a teapot, combine two teaspoons of tea-leaf with half a liter of boiling water, then allow it to steep for at least fifteen minutes.
  • Without stirring, filter the mixture into a different stainless steel pot, so that the tea leaves and coarse powder are removed.
  • Add sugar (about one teaspoon per 100 milliliters).
  • Bring to boil over a medium heat (this helps the sugar dissolve).
  • Fresh mint leaves can be added to the teapot, or directly to the cup.

While we were drinking the delicious tea, we were given henna designs. Henna is  a plant that, when mashed and mixed with water, stains the skin a dark brown color. It’s been used for centuries, and is still used in Morocco today, especially on brides. The paste is applied to skin, given time to dry, sealed with a lemon-oil mixture, then scraped off the skin. The stain deepens over time, but fades within about two weeks. It was such a cool experience and now I have a very unique stain on my left hand! Morocco is a country with so many unique and original traditions, and some day I hope to travel there!

henna is squeezed onto the hand drinking some delicious mint tea while waiting for my henna to dry coated with the lemon-oil mixture the finished product