Ataya (sometimes spelled Attaya or Ataaya) is a staple of Senegalese tea culture. This bittersweet brew of Gunpowder green tea, sugar, and mint isn't an ordinary tea. Ataya is a tea on steroids.
The elaborate three-round process known and the tea itself is know as “Ataya” in Wolof, a native language and ethnicity in Senegal. The time-consuming process is often performed while socializing with friends or family. Each of the three-rounds takes approximately 20 minutes.
During the process, Chinese Gunpowder green tea leaves are put into a teapot with water and mint leaves and boiled over a charcoal stove. Sugar is added to the teapot and the tea is poured into small glasses of a certain height and then poured back and forth from the glass to the teapot several times so that foam appears in the glass. The thicker the foam, the better the tea. The first glass of tea tends to be quite bitter, the second is sweeter and the third is very sweet with a weak tea taste because the same tea and mint leaves are steeped to prepare all three glasses.
Legend of Ataya
According to folk legend, “The first cup is the love of your mother. The second is the love of your friends. The third is the love of your love.”
Benefits of Ataya
Although the leaves in this tea are the same as those in other green teas, gunpowder tea leaves are rolled into small pellets that expand when steeped, releasing the flavor and nutrients. The tea's health rewards come from flavonoids called catechins, which influence cell-signaling pathways. A large-scale study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006 indicated a possible link between green tea consumption and a longer life span. Have you tried Ataya tea? Tell us about it. SaveSaveSaveSave
A thousand years ago, Zen Buddhist monks drank matcha tea to remain alert and calm during long hours of meditation. Today, the health-conscious elite can find it widely available in trendy New York City matcha bars, selling $10 Instagram-worthy perfectly swirly matcha lattes on marble countertops. Although the Americanized sugary drink is a far deviation from the grassy flavored traditional tea used by monks, the consumption of matcha green tea does provide many health benefits and is a great alternative to other popular and less beneficial wellness beverages like coffee and sports drinks.
History of Matcha Tea
In the Song Dynasty (960–1279), the method of making tea by whipping the powder of dried tea leaves and hot water together in a bowl became popular. Preparation and consumption of powdered tea was formed into a ritual by Chan Zen Buddhists. The Chan monastic code, entitled Chanyuan Qinggui (Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery, 1103), describes in detail the etiquette for tea ceremonies. Although powdered tea has not been popular in China for some time, there is now a global resurgence.
Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves. The preparation starts several weeks before harvest and can last up to 20 days, when the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. Only the finest tea buds are hand-picked. After harvesting, leaves are laid out flat to dry and then de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone-ground to the fine, bright green, talc-like powder known as matcha.
A 2003 University of Colorado study confirmed that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea has 137 times the amount of antioxidant EGCG compared to a conventional cup of green tea. EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) are believed to be a powerful anti-carcinogen.
The Okinawan people's longevity has been partly attributed to regular consumption of Matcha Green Tea due to its ability to combat inflammation, oxidation and aging.
Lowers LDL "Bad" Cholesterol
A 2011 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that administration of green tea beverages or extracts significantly lowered total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations.
A 1999 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that green tea promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by the tea's caffeine content. Another study demonstrated that exercising immediately after drinking matcha green tea resulted in 25% more fat burning during exercise.
Matcha green tea contains up to 5 times more L-theanine than conventional green tea. L-theanine is an amino acid with psychoactive properties, capable of inducing alpha wave activity in the brain - creating the feeling of a calm clear mental state.
Green tea's ability to boost vitality, decrease inflammation, improve brain function and block cancer causing free radicals has been studied for decades, making green tea a proven superfood like blueberries, kale and the recently "discovered" acai berry. Minimally processed and harvested while young, green tea is one of the purest types of tea.
Originating in China from the Camellia Sinensis plant, green tea offers a broad range of health benefits not found in other teas. The essential cell support in green tea is EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate. This polyphenol is a amongst the most powerful antioxidants discovered and is critical for maintaining cholesterol level, allowing the body to break down LDL before blockages can be formed, which can trigger heart attacks and strokes.
In addition its detoxifying effects, green tea bolsters the digestion system helping to burn calories faster, which in turn generates more energy - helping tea drinkers loose excess fat and decrease weight. For health conscious people around the the world, green tea is an integral part of their daily routine. It's light and earthy taste makes it an easy addition to any health regiment and for many, the act of making and drinking tea has become a welcomed moment of solace in the anxiety filled chaos of modern life.
Don’t think of tea as immediately removing something bad. Think of it as moderately adding something good.
Mixing tea with your favorite alcoholic beverages is a fun way to create fragrant cocktails with surprisingly complex flavors.
Chandon Passion Tea Mimosa
When you combine two of the world’s most noble beverages, the result is a classy cocktail for discriminating guests. Cocktail Recipe:
3 oz Chandon Rosé
½ oz Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Vodka
1/3 oz chilled jasmine tea
1/3 oz fresh lemon juice
Directions In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the peach. Add ice, vodka, tea and lemon juice then shake. Strain into a flute and top with 3 oz Chandon Rosé. Makes 1 cocktail. Suggested glassware: Champagne flute
Iced Green Tea Mojito
An Asian twist on a traditional Cuban cocktail makes this mojito the perfect drink for a hot summer day. Cocktail Recipe:
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 large spearmint leaves
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup brewed green tea, chilled
1 oz Appleton White Rum
Directions: Muddle the lime juice, mint, and sugar together in a tall Collins glass until the leaves bruise lightly and the flavors release. Add ice until glass is about 3/4 full and then pour in rum and green tea. Stir well and garnish with mint and lime. Suggested glassware: Collins Glass
Earl Grey tea (named for Charles, Second Earl Grey, Prime Minister of England) is made from the finest black tea leaves blended with the orange fruit flavor of bergamot.
1 tbsp honey
3/4 glass Earl Grey tea
2 shots Rémy Martin Cognac
1 slice lemon
Directions: Brew tea and fill a tall glass 3/4 full. Mix in honey. Mix in brandy shots. Add lemon slice and enjoy.