What’s the difference between the first-timer and the regular traveller in Morocco? The latter one will rarely order cappuccino, espresso or latte.
In the Moroccan cafés, locals order two kinds of coffee, either Coffee Noir or Nous Nous. Café Noir is a small cup of espresso. Nous Nous is made from half milk, half espresso. You will not find Nous Nous name in the menu, as it is an Arabic way to say “half-half”. So, if you ask for it, Moroccans know they can serve you as a local, not as a tourist.
Of course, many Moroccan cafés have a cappuccino or latte in their list. Then, you would get the same Nous Nous, only served in a fancy cup. What I love ordering coffee in Morocco, is drinking it from a small glass, not a cup. Somehow, the taste is different.
Want neither espresso, neither milky coffee? Ask for a Caffè Americano – an espresso with added hot water. Similar as in the Mediterranean countries, where a cup of coffee always means espresso.
In many local places, you will get a glass of tap water; in others, a small bottle of water is already included in the price. And don’t forget a little tip even for one drink.
What about takeaway coffe?
In Morocco, the takeaway coffee culture isn’t popular. Moroccans love sitting down in a cafe and chatting. They can spend long hours in café smoking cigarettes, reading magazines, watching TV, making business deals and drinking coffee/tea. Even when Starbucks opened in Marrakech, I rarely see people walking with their plastic coffee cups.
For centuries, the Moroccan coffee shops are a mainly male domain. You would rarely see Moroccan women sitting in a local cafe with her female friends. Why? Morocco is a Muslim country with a conservative society where men are not allowed to sit with women in the same room, only if they are married or related. In cafés, men do business, smoke cigarettes, watch TV or meet with friends while women do things between themselves usually in the privacy of someone’s house.
Sitting in a coffee shop is considered a waste of time in the West […]. But after a few months in Morocco I came to realize that cafe life is the gateway into the clandestine world of Moroccan men.Tahir shah, in arabian nights. 2007
However, times are changing, and Morocco is becoming more modern. Women tourists helped to break the ice sitting in the men dominated cafes, and local women are following there spets. More and more modern Western-style cafes are opening, inviting mostly younger generation Moroccans to mingle together with tourists.
In some small local cafés, especially in villages, they might not have regular coffee machines. If you order coffee, you might get the Nescafe instant coffee powder instead of the real coffee. I dislike the Nescafe coffee and always ask before ordering.
Watch the video that I made with my Blondie friend Cindy! We went to a great vintage cafe place/store in Medina called Funky Cool Medina and asked our friend Mohammed to show the process of making the Nous Nous cafe. You can find their shop on Facebook, definitely worth a visit to try and buy their funky colourful clothes!
Enjoy your coffee!
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