Tea Party

Just briefly, since the Internet is cooperating this morning.

I went out to Maty’s family again this afternoon and evening. When I got to Bousso’s house, Mor was there. We sat and watched TV for a while; it appears that people here have as much tolerance for music videos as my African friends back home do. Then, Mor offered me some tea and I accepted. Tea here is not like tea back home.

We went out with a bunch of chairs and sat down alongside the street in front of the house. Mor brought a little brazier full of charcoal, a bottle of water, a little box of tea, and a huge sack of sugar. After borrowing Djibi’s moto and running off to the market for mint and vanilla extract, all was ready. The teapot, full of tea leaves, and replenished several times with water, sat on the coals for a really long time, an hour at least. Friends came and went, and engaged in earnest discussions of politics, business, music, and the like. All the while, Mor, as the teamaster, put various things into the teapot and smelled from time to time. Since the pot was all-metal, and sitting on glowing coals, I don’t see how he managed to pick it up but he must have stronger fingers than me. Anyway, finally he declared the tea finished. Shot glasses were delivered by one of the nieces, and the tea was poured back and forth from glass to glass, back into the pot and back out again, all in order to produce a nice big foamy sugary mass on top of a little glass of really really strong tea. They kept feeding me the stuff, and I must have drunk five shot glasses full.

I was buzzing the rest of the evening. And I must have consumed 50 or 100 grams of sugar, like eating a whole sack of hard candies.

I should say, I have encountered this before, in northwestern Guinea, in Kankan and Siguiri. This is a Sahelian custom

Here’s a picture of Mor and his tea-making setup:

Mor making tea

Note the Dutch jersey. One of the things we had in common was an appreciation for the Dutch soccer team.

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4 thoughts on “Tea Party

  1. Must be a general north African custom. The Moroccan restaurant in Wilsonville serves very sweet, flavored tea in glasses. I’ve also seen pictures of street vendors in Cairo serving tea this way.

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    1. I think it is an Arabic custom originally. In Guinea and here it is the Sahelian people who do it. People from the forest region take tea like the Brits do, with lemon and/or milk. Sweetened condensed milk, in Guinea, though I haven’t seen that here.

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  2. Gene and I are really enjoying your blog. What an adventure! I had a very nice conversation with your mother today and she shared some of her memories of various places she has lived. I am looking forward to more.

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