Around the World in Tea: Morocco

I was lucky enough to spend a week in Fes, Morocco in September. During my week of Moroccan adventures, there was of course much tea drinking to my delight. The Moroccan’s are heavy tea drinkers, in fact the locals jokingly told me they call it ‘Moroccan whiskey’! Sadia's Tea Party in Fes

One of the international tea parties that we offer is the ‘North African Tea Party’ and this tea party serves traditional ‘Maghrebi’ mint tea as drunk in the ‘Maghreb’, this defines the region of Northwest Africa made up of the following countries; Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Mauritania. The ‘Maghrebi’ tea culture has spread throughout North Africa including Egypt and Sudan and southern Spain. Tea we found occupies a very important place in Moroccan culture and is considered an art form.

Drinking Maghrebi – style mint tea in the hot climates was lush, a thirst quencher and very refreshing. It is green tea (gunpowder tea) served with mint leaves and copious amounts of sugar! Served not only a meal times but throughout the day, it is a drink of hospitality, impolite to refuse.

Interestingly enough, tea is not native to Morocco. It came over after the Crimean War; British merchants were in search of new markets in which to sell their tea. The Moroccans took greatly to this new drink, adapting and making it their own. The medicinal qualities of mint were enjoyed by folk in this region and grown in abundance; fittingly they added sprigs of fresh mint to the tea to create what we now know as ‘Maghrebi’ mint tea.  Today the main provider of tea to the Maghreb is China.

Whilst out in Morocco, my favourite cup of tea was in Bhalil, with a little lady called Mama Aisha and our tour guide for the day, Hassan. Walking through Bhalil involved quite a climb up roughly paved streets. Bhalil is famous for its cave houses, apparently 40 of these are still inhabited, and a few are routinely open to tourists. In one of them we had Maghrebi style mint tea with Mama Aisha, a strong, sprightly lady in her eighties, whose family had resided in this home for the past 3 centuries.

Making Tea the Maghrebi Way

The customary green tea used is a gunpowder tea imported from China, I brought some back from Fes however it is widely available in England. Here is how you can make a pot of tea the Maghrebi way.

  1. In a teapot, combine two teaspoons of tea-leaf with half a litre of boiling water. Allow it too steep for at least ten minutes.
  2. Filter the mixture into a different stainless steel pot, so that the tea leaves and coarse powder are removed.
  3. Add sugar (about one teaspoon per 100 ml).
  4. Bring to boil over a medium heat.
  5. As desired, add fresh mint leaves either to the teapot or directly to the cup.

There you have it folks, enjoy! And please do come back next month when we feature another tea from a different part of the world.

‘Around the World in Tea’ Blog

This month we launch our monthly blog post ‘Around the World in Tea’, on the 5th of each month we’ll be talking about a tea from a different region of the world. Sharing our love for tea customs and cultures, we’ll explore the tea, its origins and history, share some stories and recipes and open the floor to you, our readers…Do you have any experience of the tea were sharing? Any stories, memories, anecdotes? Any recipes?  We look forward to launching the monthly blog posts this week and look forward to hearing from you! Have tea-riffic days all…

Around the World in Teas

Afternoon Tea at Fairlop

On Saturday 6th July 2013, hundreds of people basked in the glorious sunshine as they enjoyed an array of amusing and wacky entertainment at the Fairlop Fair. The annual free event at Fairlop Waters in Barkingside, included circus entertainment, a host of stalls, Georgian-era games and of course tea parties. The Fairlop Fair was originally held annually in the 18th century, attracting hundreds of thousands of people in its heyday and only just returning in 2011 after a 100-year gap.

The day begun with setting up our special tea tent for the tea parties with traditional colorful bunting being hung and setting up the tables with lovely patterned tablecloths and beautiful vintage tea crockery. Guests were seated and presented with an array of fancy snacks including a delicious traditional Victoria sponge cake served alongside a special tea blend, an Assam-Darjeeling fusion – subtle but satiating.

There were many Fairlop-themed parlour games and activities throughout the duration of the tea parties. The party started out with the now infamous icebreaker coin game which allowed everyone to get more acquainted with one another; followed on by the Fairlop question round with everyone answering questions upon their personal experiences with Fairlop. A game that gave everyone giggles was the Story Making game in which all of the guests had to write a sentence each and at the end a story was created although some turned out to be more wacky than fairytale. Another enjoyable activity was the Fairlop Quiz that had certainly given guests more of an insight into the rich history of Fairlop.

A special feature of the tea parties was the Fairlop Memories – a way for everyone involved including those visiting the fair to write down any particular memory they have of Fairlop, which then would be added to the growing art installation ‘Fairlop Memories’ board. Fairlop Waters was an idyllic location for the tea parties, it was wonderfully calm, but bubbling with ambiance. The guests seemed to really enjoy the parlour style games as it really allowed for everyone to interact with new people. Overall the day was full of fun and joy for all.

Henna Babar

Here are a selection of photos from the day:

© Photo credits: Connie Taylor Photography

Tea in Barkingside

Henna @ Sadia's Tea PartyHi, my name’s Henna and I’ll be guest writing on Sadia’s Tea Party blog about all things tea! Here’s an article about the recent tea parties in Barkingside…..

On Thursday 20th June 2013, local residents of Barkingside were invited to enjoy a wonderful world of Afternoon Tea at Fullwell Cross Library on Barkingside High Street as part of the ‘Better Barkingside’ project.

The incarnation of Afternoon Tea was aimed to highlight the ‘Better Barkingside’ project which plans to regenerate and make improvements to the high street, creating a sense of place and improving leisure and shopping opportunities; and what better way to engage local folk with the regeneration than hosting a fabulous tea party to help the local community to engage and interact with one another.

The day started off with a cup of tea (of course) and setting up decorations inside the library to transform it. The set up included lots of delightful bunting displayed, tables dressed with decorative patterned tablecloths and the most charming mish mash of tea crockery presented neatly with cutlery and napkins.

We hosted two tea parties throughout the day. Both events engaged local residents and particularly those involved in the organisation Barkingside 21; a local community and environmental group which represent the voices of local residents within Barkingside.

Guests were seated and served with all-you-can-eat scrumptious sandwiches, mouth-watering cake and of course our special afternoon tea blend, a lovely mix of Darjeeling and Assam tea. Guests played our bespoke parlour games throughout the duration of the tea parties, kicking off with the now infamous icebreaker the ‘Coin game’. The ‘Barkingside Question Round’ enabled guests to share their memories, stories and experiences of Barkingside and the relationship they had with the area, this made for wonderful conversations, memories and reminiscing. Along with the questions there was the ‘Barkingside Quiz’ with some surprising questions and answers that left some of our  guests astonished; such as the revelation of finding out that King Solomon High School had been opened up by the one and only King Hussein of Jordan!

The overall atmosphere was really enjoyable with all discussing their thoughts and passionate opinions upon the new development whilst getting some clarification from members of the project management team who also attended the tea party. Additionally many fond memories of Barkingside were shared amongst each other and thus made for really engaging conversations for all those that were involved, making it a truly splendid afternoon.

We heart Barkingside!

Henna Babar

Here’s a selection of photos from the day:

© Photo credits: Connie Taylor Photography

Community Dialogues: Tea Party with the Clement James Centre

On Monday 17th June we hosted a bespoke tea party for the Clement James Centre at Kew Gardens as part of the project ‘Community Dialogues’. The project aims to engage and bring together groups of different, diverse cultural backgrounds to creatively explore and exchange dialogues on edible plants. We explored six edible plants including; tea, coffee, chillies, cocoa, pepper and sugar whilst drinking tea and playing our infamous parlour games. It was interesting meeting the group, who came from all walks of life and were participants of the Women’s Empowerment Programme at Clement James Centre. Lively discussions took place whilst the ladies talked in detail about the edible plants mentioned above and their experiences of them.

Here are some photos from the day.

(c) Photo credits: Mikey Knott

Sadia’s Tea Party at the Fairlop Fair

Fairlop Fair Poster_Sml

On Saturday 6th July sees the return of the historic Fairlop Fair and we’ll be there hosting two tea parties in our very own special tea tent!

Enjoy entertainments in the spirit of the original fair; with traditional swing boats and rides, old English games, folk music, traditional dance, rowing boats, cup cake decorating, a pooch tent, street entertainers and Sadia’s tea party!

Join us at the Fairlop Fair for afternoon tea, fancy snacks and Fairlop-themed parlour games including the ‘Fairlop Quiz’. Share your memories and experiences of Fairlop and contribute to the installation ‘Fairlop Memories’ which will grow as the day progresses.

To book your free tickets check out these links:

Noon tea party:

3pm tea party:

We hope to see you there!

Barkingside Takeover: Sadia’s Mad Hatter Tea Parties

On Saturday 15th June, we took over Barkingside High Street to host 2 very special Mad Hatter’s tea parties. To promote the forthcoming Fairlop Fair, we created a bit of buzz and some interesting presence as our tea party took place amongst the usual hustle and bustle of a high street full of shoppers and locals going about their daily business. We were lucky with some sunshine in the morning for our tea party with families from the local area! Here are some snaps:

Tea party guests were lucky enough to play our bespoke parlour games including ‘The Barkingside Question Round’ and others exploring and responding to their local area. By the afternoon, the skies had unfortunately opened and it rained and rained and rained. We had to retreat into Rowan’s Cafe and set up our second tea party in there. Nevertheless folks had  a great time exploring Barkingside and what it means to them.

We will be hosting two bespoke tea parties at the Fairlop Fair on Saturday 6th July at Fairlop Waters, book your free tickets here:

Tea parties commissioned by Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure.

Photo credits: Mikey Knott

‘Better Barkingside’ Tea Parties

Did you know that King Solomon High School in Barkingside was opened by King Hussein of Jordan? Or did you know that Kathy Kirby (singer from the 60’s) was born in Barkingside? Her big hit was “Secret Love” originally made popular by Doris Day.

This Thursday we’ll be hosting two customised tea parties at Fullwell Cross Library for local residents as part of the Better Barkingside project.

Join artist and tea hostess Sadia Ur-Rehman on Thursday 20th June at 11am and 3pm for tea, fancy snacks and Barkingside-themed parlour games including the ‘Barkingside Quiz’. Share your memories and experiences of your local area and contribute to the wider Better Barkingside project delivered by the London borough of Redbridge.

Suitable for adults aged 16+, only 25 places available for each tea party.

Tickets are free and available via Eventbrite:

Sadia’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Parties in Barkingside

Fairlop Fair Tasters

Hot of the press, were excited to announce that in the run up to the historic Fairlop Fair, we’ll be hosting 2 very special pop-up ‘Mad Hatter Tea Parties’. ‘Tumble down the rabbit hole’ and join artist Sadia Ur-Rehman for 2 unique tea parties on Saturday 15th June at 11am (for families) and 2.30pm (for adults) outside Rowan’s Café on Barkingside High Street. Explore the history of your local area with specially designed games, fancy snacks and tea.


To book a free ticket here are the following links:



Only 20 tickets available for each tea party, so get booking!

Community Dialogues: Tea Party with the Brazilian Educational & Cultural Centre

On Saturday 11th May, we hosted a bespoke tea party for the Brazilian Educational & Cultural Centre at Kew Gardens as part of the project ‘Community Dialogues’. The project aims to engage and bring together groups of different, diverse cultural backgrounds to creatively explore and exchange dialogues on edible plants. Our Brazilian tea party guests were a lively bunch with lots of stories to tell and yummy recipes to share! We looked in detail at four edible plants, these were; coffee, tea, chillies and cocoa, and of course these are grown directly at Kew Gardens. The group also talked of edible plants native to Brazil and other countries in South America, it was fascinating to hear about these plants and how they were eaten, and one only wished we could have had a taste!

We captured some lovely stories in our ‘Stories Studio, looking forward to editing the film that comes out of all of the tea parties. Here are some photos from the day.

(c) Photo credits: Mikey Knott