A ritual in every home, a tradition in our country. When it comes to tea, there’s always time for more talk. Tea and shisha, a standard duo you can see around literally every corner in Egypt’s traditional coffee shops. We are definitely a tea culture. So here’s a glimpse of that.
We have the ultimate relationship that anyone dream of with tea. The names are multiple and the preparation methods are slightly different—we’re so good with the names—only those with a tea mood can feel the differentiation and know their type. We have a famous term that is repeated by many, namely, “brain reconstruction.” Teacup is responsible for that reconstruction associated with our daily lives.
Black Tea, Chai, the Essence of Men Talk
The black tea is our traditional cup of tea and considered essential after meals and when people come together. It is attached to the act of hospitality and it’s so easy to make, so it’s the most common thing to prepare for friends or guests. You’ll find it in every house and in every street corner. Traditionally, Egyptian tea is never served in china cups or mugs, but always in a tall glass or in an old-fashioned glass (we have a particular hold for this one). But it’s never a problem to serve it in different drinkware. Meaning, if you have a guest coming and you have a chic chia set you can, of course, serve in it, but older people may ask for glassware instead because it’s simply what they got used to.
How To Make Egyptian Black Tea
1 tablespoon loose black tea
Boiling water in a bot
Sugar to taste
Served with fresh mint, or slices of lemon
Egyptian tea is brewed without tea bag directly in the glass. We call it Koshary according to our traditional meal that means something messy, the tea is loose and not in a bag, hence it’s Koshary. So a half teaspoon of loose black tea is added to the glass and infused with boiling water, then you can add sugar. The tea set remains at the bottom of the glass and since it’s a loose tea, make sure to let it sit for a few minutes until the remains settle in the bottom.
Some people prefer tea bags nowadays as it is easier to clean and you can control the depth of the tea taste more.
Some like their red tea light and some like it strong. Ditto to sugar, commonly 2-3 teaspoons of sugar is added, but preferably don’t put sugar directly in the glasses and provide the sugar bowl alongside the tea served with some mint and lemon for guests and friends.
Tea Latte, a Personal Level Problem
I remember myself as a kid that drinks tea latte every weekend for breakfast like it is a feast of its own.
Spending the weekends at my grandma’s house was a ritual until I turned 15. Every meal was a celebration when the family gathered.
Breakfast and lunch were the most celebrated meals. In the morning, the table had to be filled with traditional breakfast merged with the western components like jam, butter, luncheon, cereals,
and Edam cheese to name a few. But I used to leave it all and concentrate on one thing, tea latte, and Bo’somat—
crunchy Egyptian breadsticks that we usually dip in tea latte or mint tea or white cheese. But mostly it’s dipped in tea latte, and it’s preferred for breakfast and snack time.
Tea latte and Bo’somat are not a meal, it’s rather a snack, or like a tea time. It’s not fancy food, you can eat this duo even if you’re 4 years old. I don’t know when did I establish the non-breakfast side in me, but I think my tea latte and Bo’somat duo developed to my only breakfast nowadays, coffee and biscuits/cakes. It’s not that I don’t like the traditional Egyptian breakfast, but I find it heavy to eat at morning, and I prefer to eat it at dinner because basically our dinners and breakfasts are the same.
Egyptian tea latte is very sweet and simple in the making, and the Bo’somat is pleasantly mild in taste, so when you dip it in the latte and wait for a couple of seconds, the Bo’somat will get tender, the more you leave it, the softer it will be. It depends on your own taste, but when you finally eat that dipped part, uh, it’s going to reshape your life.
How To Make An Egyptian Tea Latte
A pot of black tea. It doesn’t matter how you’ll make your tea. You can also use tea bags if you want.
Heated Milk. Just full-fat organic milk. As. Simple. As. That.
Pour the milk and tea (3:1 ratio), if you used a tea bag, it’d be milkier because now you have a full glass of milk infused with tea. Add sugar (2 tablespoons is good to start with) It’s a latte after all. So yes, it has a lot of sugar, but it goes so well when you drink it with the Bo’somat, it won’t be too sweet. If you can’t find Bo’somat in your area, drink it with crackers of any kind that has a mild taste. Sometimes, I drink it with salty crackers and hear the fireworks of the salty and sweet together in my mouth.
Suitable for: Breakfast, dinner (if your dinner is your main meal then for breakfast and lunch) and tea time.
Best taken with:
Cheese x tomato sandwich.
Green Tea, the Missing Puzzle Piece
The green tea is relatively new in our culture. It wasn’t even there when I was growing up. I think it arrived to Egypt in the ’90s. The name grew so fast between women thinking it is healthier and can help in weight loss. Although that’s not entirely true, we do enjoy its benefits and the gathering around it. There’s no special way in our green tea making. We just buy bagged teas from the supermarket. Unfortunately, the supermarket varieties are so convenient for us that we don’t look further. Hope someday we will expand it, but in the meanwhile, have a tea latte and tell me what do you think.