This denotes a type of green tea, but certainly connotes more than the
actual beverage. Attaya is a ritual, a favourite pastime of Gambians,
especially young men. Brewing Attaya involves Chinese Gunpowder Green
Tea from a box, lots of sugar, a small teapot, a small charcoal stove,
3 or 4 small Maghreb-style glass cups, dexterity for making frothy
bubbles, and a circle of friends.
Each brewing yields three pots of tea, drunken from
small glasses of froth and hot liquid. The first round is the most
potent and the third the sweetest and weakest, with the second falling
somewhere in between.
These young men can be seen drinking the potent Attaya brew along the
roadsides of Gambia and in particular the Kombo areas and they are
derisorily known as the 'Attaya Boys'.
How to Make Attaya:
First you take half a small glass cup of the
green tea which is known
locally as warrga. The leaves themselves a small rolled
balls when dry. It is poured into a small enamel
teapot called a barrada of boiled water and left to stand away from the fire for
a 3 minutes of minutes.
After 3 minutes the leaves would have un-rolled
themselves and the tea has infused into the water giving it a
thick dark green colour. Some of the liquid is then poured back
into the teapot at a height of about 1/2 a metre and vice-versa
in order to begin the frothing process. After about 7
cycles of this frothing sugar is added it is re-heated and ready
to serve. Each person is served half a cup and this first
serving is called the 1st round. In all there are 3 rounds and
the tea gradually looses it dark colour with each successive
The large box comes in a 500 gram pack however,
smaller boxes are also sold which suffices for one drinking
session with a group of friends. The most popular brand is
called Temple of Heaven, Special Gunpowder produced by the
Shanghai Tea Import & Export Corporation in China.