The Malian Tea-spresso

The Malian Tea-spresso

I was quite fascinated by the way that the Malians make tea and so of course, I had to try it given that I love tea.

It’s a pretty basic black tea that they use. I’ve no idea as to the source, but I’m assuming Chinese as it’s cheap to buy in the stores and there is no hint of Assam, Darjeeling, or anything else from India to it. They steep it by boiling it in the pot with the water. As anyone who knows how the process of tea works, this results in a mighty strong cup of tea. They cool it by pouring it in to these small glasses from a half meter up, pouring those back in to the pot and then pouring them again–adding even more strength to it.

As to the taste? Mother of god it’s strong. So strong that I started to get a bit of headache after the first tiny little glass. I never knew tea could have this much of a kick. It’s like having an espresso in tea form. In truth though, it’s basically undrinkable in this form for me. It is far, far too bitter. But, with a solid dose of sugar and/or honey, it becomes quite good. Essentially in the same way that Turkish coffee works.

Editor in Chief and I had to bribe a server at a restaurant to make it for us (well, we had to pay him to go out and get the tea leaves), but we’ve really been wanting to taste it in the street, except that everybody shares the glasses. It’s a nastiness that I can’t really do. We have bought two glasses though, so the next time we see them making tea, there is sugar, and we don’t want to sleep for several days, we are so there with the 100 CFA ($0.20) for a cup.