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The Beauty of Food and Drink Rituals in Morocco
The North African nation of Morocco has long tantalised the imaginations of outsiders in their search of exotic cultures and traditions. The names of Marrakesh and Casablanca have continued to conjure up images of grand bazaars, animated merchants and hazy Western Saharan plains in the minds of all that daydream of Morocco.
Besides the romantic views of the country, a very real appreciation for a vast amount of spices, food experiences and drink rituals have been culturally exported from Morocco and provide us with a colourful view of the nation. Like much of North African food-culture, Morocco is a nation of coffee lovers and this aged old drink is more than just an injection of caffeine, it is a way of life.
Miles away from the bright lights of the endless western coffee chains, Moroccan cafes still have the relaxed air of a bygone era. An era where a small shot of espresso coffee would be nursed all-day, drinkers only sipping their deep black drinks once the news of the day has been discussed or their business transactions have been completed.
Far from being a hangover from French colonial rule, the coffee culture in Morocco has been a staple for centuries, an introduction from Arabian traders. With Arabic coffee and Moroccan mint tea rituals, we see the very heart of the Moroccan people and their culture personified into one simple cup. Moroccans take the traditional coffee bean and tea leaf brews and immerse them with hints and flavours of North Africa.
Coffee mixed with spice blends such as Baharat show that the drink is much more than the caffeine hit it is elsewhere. This gentle balance of brewed coffee, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon focus more on the digestive properties of the brew than the rush it gives you. This subtle spice blend of flavour and care is what we see within Kolibri’s Tales of Marrakesh.
The coffee ritual is as multifaceted as it is fascinating, with the rules and rituals changing based on the time of day, the type of social occasion and whether you include sugar or not. Take a Moroccan wedding for example, where coffee is served with an excess of sugar - a palatable taste of the occasion’s sweetness. Juxtapose this with the black bitter coffee served solemnly to the attendees of a funeral, again a sensory representation of the drinker’s mood.
Harnessing this marriage of spice, tradition, herbal remedy and Moroccan hospitality, Kolibri has crafted a drink that not only tells tales of Marrakesh but of the Moroccan culture itself.