Tea has been a part of Arabic culture for centuries and comes in all forms, from the dark brews of Egypt to the refreshing Moroccan varieties. Here’s a handy guide to the different teas you’ll find when visiting the Middle East and North Africa.
Types of Arabic Tea
Sage Tea (Maramia)
This earthy favorite of the Middle East aids with digestive issues, stress reduction, and it’s a powerful antioxidant.
Chamomile Tea (Babooneh)
Often served in the evening before bed, this tea provides ultimate relaxation without the stimulus of caffeine.
Anise Tea (Yansoon)
Fans of black licorice will love this naturally sweet tea. It’s the perfect dessert and helps aid with digestion.
Cardamom Tea (Hal)
This regional favorite is usually served before dinner. You may find it to be a bit pricier than others, but the herbs are often hand-harvested, which accounts for the higher price tag. The taste is well worth the extra pennies.
Moroccan Mint Tea (Atay)
This “traditional” North African tea was actually introduced to the region by British merchants. It’s also known as “Maghrebi mint tea” and is the signature tea of the country.
Also known as “Kuwaiti Tea,” this variety is made from boiling cinnamon sticks and is typically a very strong blend.
Dried lime tea (Loomi)
As you may have guessed, this tea is made from the dried citrus fruit. You’ll find it across Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, and the UAE.
Egypt is home to two popular varieties: Koshary and Saiidi. While both are variants of common black tea, the method of preparation makes all the difference. Koshary is popular in the North and flavored with a bit of cane sugar and mint leaves. Of the two, it’s undoubtedly the lighter version. On the other hand, Saiidi – popular in the South – calls for a much higher dosage of sugar to counteract the natural bitter flavor.
One of the most unique practices in Arabic tea culture is found in Libya. While most countries use herbs or sugar to add a little something extra, boiled almonds and peanuts add flavor in this fascinating break from tradition.