From first light in the morning to the end of the day and under the pulsing noonday sun, tea ladies line the streets of cities and towns across Sudan. They soak up what little shade they can find along facades of buildings, store awnings and trees. With water simmering over charcoal stoves, they swirl a mishmash of ingredients through the steam into the kettle.
You can pick your ingredient or any combination. Will it be mint, cardamon and/or ginger? However, the most popular option for many patrons is cinnamon, a blend of black tea steeped with cinnamon sticks. Many patrons like to hold a sugar cube between the teeth while drinking to sweeten the brew.
When business is good (which it usually is), patrons sit and talk at the edge of the tea lady’s makeshift prep table. They sip her healing brews on metal chairs, wooden boxes, or on their haunches. They don’t rush.
They soak in this soothing warmth, even on the hottest days. Particularly in the morning, they enjoy zalabya, local sugar dumplings or doughnuts, to go with their tea.
Most patrons prefer to sit, but those not able to sit can take zalabya to go. The tea ladies in Sudan are a local version of Starbucks.
A recipe for cinnamon tea
Makes 3 cups
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cups water
- 1 Table spoon of black tea (Ceylon can used)
- sugar cubes (if desired)
For the strongest flavor, consider adding the cinnamon sticks to the water as it heats up. Otherwise add it to a teapot with the black tea. Next, pour hot water over top, steep a few minutes, then pour into serving cups.
Just for fun, try drinking tea through a sugar cube. It’s trickier than it looks to keep the cube between your teeth for more than one sip.
Published on April 4, 2013
By Sasha Martin
The original article can be found here,
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