How to Make Arabic Tea

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Image Credit: Craig Hastings/Moment/GettyImages

Start to Finish‌: 10 minutes
Servings‌: 4
Difficulty Level‌: Beginner


Offering tea is an integral part of Arab hospitality, and people in the Arab world drink tea throughout the day. On the Arabian peninsula, black tea is the favored brew, rather than the green tea served in Asia.

Video of the Day

Video of the Day


  • 6 cups water
  • 4 teaspoons black tea or tea bags
  • 1 bunch fresh mint leaves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 6 sage (maramiah) leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
  • Sugar


1. Bring water to a boil

Bring the water to the boil in a pot and add the tea leaves or bags.

2. Simmer for two to three minutes

Simmer for two to three minutes until the color diffuses, then remove the pot from the stove.


3. Rinse the mint leaves under running water

Rinse the mint leaves under running water, shake them dry, then tear them apart by hand.

4. Crush the cardamom pods

Crush the cardamom pods gently in a pestle and mortar.


5. Pour the tea into a serving pot

Pour the tea into a serving pot, add the mint and cardamom pods, cover and ‌allow to steep for five minutes‌.

6. Pour it through a strainer to serve

Serve the tea by pouring it through a strainer into small, delicate heatproof glasses and add sugar to taste.



Arab tea served in the Middle East tends to be taken sweet, with an almost syrupy consistency.


Spicy Brew

Boost the infusion with a more assertive spice mix, usually at the expense of the mint leaves, as the fragrant subtlety is lost once the spices take over.


  • Meramieh tea substitutes fresh sage leaves‌, native to the Mediterranean, for mint to give a soothing tea. This tea is traditional in Lebanon.
  • Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg‌ are also appropriate options, releasing aromatic oils into the tea as it steeps.

Milky Tea

The influence of Indian chai on the Arabian peninsula makes itself known with ‌Karak tea, served with condensed milk‌.


  • Boil up the spices first, typically cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon, then add the black tea and allow to brew.
  • Stir in a dash of condensed milk, enough to give the tea some creaminess, but not too much to dilute the dark tan color.

Some brands of condensed milk come flavored with cinnamon.


Serving Suggestions

Presentation is key‌ when taking Arab-style tea. Although there is less ritual than, say, the Japanese tea service, the pot should be arranged on an ornate tray surrounded by small, dainty glasses or cups. Large cups or mugs are too unwieldy.

Allow guests to serve themselves from a sugar bowl to accommodate differences in taste.


Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...