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Why do Moroccans pour their tea from on high?

If you ever have the pleasure of visiting a Moroccan home, exploring Morocco itself or dining in a Moroccan restaurant, chances are you’ll be offered a cup of mint tea. Called Atay in Moroccan dialect, it occupies a special place in the kingdom’s culture.

The tea is poured into a container called a berrad. These cups are available in a wide range of colors and designs, from bright hues to elegant silver and gold motifs. When the drink is served to guests, it is presented on a large tray called a siniya, usually made of stainless steel. Many Moroccans ensure that their teacups, berrads and trays match or complement each other.



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Une publication partagée par MonRiad Marrakech (@monriad)

Served from high up

One of the distinctive aspects of Moroccan tea is the technique employed by the tea-pourer, who strives to pour it from as high up as possible without spilling a drop. This custom has deeper meanings. In Moroccan tradition, the height at which the beverage is poured indicates the conviviality of the welcome reserved for guests. The higher the tea is poured, the more guests are considered honored and appreciated. Skilled tea-pourers are masters of the art, and can achieve impressive heights in their pouring techniques.


Generally, tea is poured from a height of 30 centimeters or more. There are several reasons why Moroccans prefer it to be poured at such a height. Naturally, the primary objective is to obtain a layer of foam on top of the drink, which adds to its aesthetic appeal and enhances the tasting experience. Foam is also a sign of quality and freshness. Furthermore, serving tea at such a distance allows it to aerate, further enhancing its aromas. This oxidation also helps to refresh the tea, making it ready to drink right after serving. Moreover, pouring the tea high up is a sign of hospitality on the part of the host, as it symbolizes the efforts made to offer guests the best possible experience.

A social lubricant

Beyond the visual and symbolic elements, the height at which the drink is poured in Moroccan culture fosters a sense of connection and engagement. It encourages discussion, as the pouring process becomes a topic of conversation between those sharing it. The spectacular flow of tea from a great height creates an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation, thereby enhancing the social experience surrounding tea drinking in the country.


See also

The history of mint tea: everything you need to know about this Moroccan tradition

Published on 3 July 2023