Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Eshahid:Tuareg Tea Service
the Taureg are a nomadic people that live in the Tenéré desert of northeast Niger. tea is often painted as a drink for cold weather countries. although the Tuareg live in the desert, they have a rich culture of tea.
tea is taken systematically and ritually throughout the day. it marks the beginning and end of each meal. it is taken with family and new friends. it is a prerequisite when courting and the Tuareg people drink a round of tea before sleeping.
eshahid, the tuareg tea service, involves green tea, mint, and sugar. it is a three stage process; three pots of tea are consumed from each bunch of tea leaves. the first round is said to be bitter like life. the second round is sweet like love due to the added sugar. the third and final round is light, like "the breath of death".
making tea is an art form among the Tuareg people. those who make tea well are the matriarchs and patriarchs of the community. they become the foreign diplomats to any visitors, ushering them into the unique cultural practices of the Tuareg people.
the Tuareg call eshahid the friend of conversation. tea is a crucial part of their cultural heritage and practice.
i hope to one day be able to partake in Tuareg tea...