If you have ever been to The Gambia, or indeed any of the surrounding West African countries, you will no doubt have seen the local men gathered together around a small teapot.

Gunpowder green tea in The Gambia

This well-loved past time involves a lot of chattering while drinking scolding hot and incredibly strong Chinese green tea known locally as attaya. The most popular brand is Temple of Heaven, Special Gunpowder (produced by the Shanghai Tea Import & Export Corporation).

There is a skill to make good attaya; it is quite a ritual. To make it frothy it is poured out of the pot and back in again from a great height, numerous times. Each small portion of dried leafs and sugar produces three pots of tea; the first being the strongest and the third the weakest and sweetest. The whole process takes a considerable amount of time.

Whether simply a group of friends passing the time, chatting under a mango tree or an important occasion such as a wedding or naming ceremony involving the whole community, attaya is always drunk.

When I visit The Gambia I am often offered a glass of green tea and I always say yes when it feels rude not to, however, I believe it is an acquired taste that, as yet, I have failed to acquire.

I originally assumed this love of tea was a remnant of Gambia’s colonial past. We English are known for our love of tea (although not so much green tea). I am an exception to this preferring a cup of coffee any time. However, I believe green tea is drunk in many places including North Africa; in Morocco the tea ritual is an important part of any social occasion and of course, the Japanese tea ceremony is well-known.

Have you come across such rituals on your travels (or even where you live)? I’d love to hear about it if you have. Do you like it?

 

Join my 'Behind the Scenes' newsletter

Delivered monthly to your inbox with all my behind the scenes news, latest posts and giveaways exclusive to my subscribers.

 
 

Travel Planning Resources


Please note that most of the following links are affiliate links which means that if you click on the link, I may be paid a small commission. You can find out more about affiliate links in my Disclaimer..

 

Travel Insurance

I never travel without insurance. If something unexpected goes wrong the costs implications are just too high to take the risk. World Nomads provides travel insurance to travellers from over 130 countries. They're the perfect choice for long term travellers or single trip insurance.

 

Travel clothes for women

Check out my guide to all my favourite travel clothes for women.

 

Book your hotel or package holiday

TripAdvisor is my preferred hotel search engine. They compare all the top sites to find you the best deal. I also use Airbnb ($31 discount) for booking rooms/apartments.

 

Rent a car

Discover Car Hire is a great site for comparing car hire prices to help you find the best deal. They search both local and international rental companies.

 

Book an experience

When I’m travelling, especially to a new city, I use Viator and Get Your Guide to book tours and excursions, in particular, food walking tours or to visit somewhere tricky to get to by public transport.

 

Don’t forget your travel adaptor

Worldwide travel adaptors are perfect no matter where you are travelling from or to. Buy this one from the US or this one from the UKIt’s pretty much the only one you’ll ever need.

 
 

Pin It on Pinterest

More in Africa, Food and Drink, Gambia
A mini guide to street food in Sri Lanka

Today I'd like to welcome the first author from a new series of guest articles on Travel With Kat. So...

Close