What’s the difference between the first-timer and the regular traveller in Morocco? The latter one will rarely order a cappuccino, espresso or latte coffee.
In the Moroccan cafés, locals order two kinds of coffee: Coffee Noir or Nous Nous. Café Noir is a small cup of espresso. Nous Nous is made from half milk, and half espresso. You will not find Nous Nous name on 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 on their list. Then, you would get the same Nous Nous, only served in a fancy cup. I love ordering coffee in Morocco and drinking it from a small glass, not a cup. Somehow, the taste is different.
Want neither espresso nor milky coffee? Ask for a Caffè Americano – an espresso with added hot water. Similar to 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 coffee?
In Morocco, the takeaway coffee culture isn’t popular. Moroccans love sitting down in a cafe and chatting. They can spend long hours in cafés smoking cigarettes, reading magazines, watching TV, making business deals and drinking coffee/tea. Even when Starbucks opened in Marrakech, I rarely saw people walking with their plastic coffee cups.
For centuries, Moroccan coffee shops have been a mainly male domain. You rarely see Moroccan women sitting in a local cafe with their female friends. 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 break the ice by sitting in the men-dominated cafes, and local women following their steps.
Some small local cafés, especially in villages, might not have regular coffee machines. So if you order coffee, you might get the Nescafe instant coffee powder instead of the real coffee. I’m not too fond of 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 us 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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