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Attaya in Gambia (Green Tea)

Introduction To Attaya:
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 approximately 3 minutes.

After 3 minutes the leaves would have un-rolled themselves and the green 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 serving.

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 Green Tea produced by the Shanghai Tea Import & Export Corporation in China.
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