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.