When you are in The Gambia, you must try Attaya. It is not just traditional hot beverage. It is more than that. It’s important part of daily social life, which connects people. The time of preparation is quite long so while you are brewing Attaya you have the opportunity to talk with your friends and visitors about football, wrestling, politics or local community news.
Attaya is most common in The Gambia, Senegal and Mauritania. Brewing Attaya involves Chinese Green Tea from a box, lots of sugar, a small teapot, a small charcoal stove, 3 or 4 small glass cups, skills for making bubbles, and a circle of friends.
It should be served very sweet and for different taste you can add ginger, jasmine, vanilla sugar or nana – fresh mint. Almost 80% of adult people drink it. It is not like the tea you drink in the mornings but after meal or when hanging out with friends. Gambian custom is that you offer only a half of cup so that there is enough for everybody.
Lewal – the first cup of Attaya is the most important. It is the strongest and most preferred one. With offering the first cup of Attaya, people are also showing respect to others. Elderly people are always privileged to take lewal. It can also happen that boys offer lewal to someone among them cause of respect they have towards this person.
When the first pot is done, you start preparing another one, with the same tea. Some even brew the third Attaya from the same tea mixture.The first round is the most strong and the third the sweetest and weakest, with the second falling somewhere in between.
The best part of this ritual is foam making. It is created by pouring the tea from one glass to another, from height. The thicker the foam the better the tea.
Welcome to the smiling coast! Come for lewal!