Lucia has something to say

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tea in Mali

All day long, Malians offer strong tea.

It’s made in a small pot on a charcoal burner like this one and served in three small glasses from a tray.

When the tea is ready, they hold the pot about a foot above the glass and pour. The tea goes from the glass back into the pot, and this is repeated over and over again. From pot to glass and back again. When the tea is ready, it is offered, with a nice foamy top from the repeated pourings, to be swigged down so the shared glasses are emptied and ready to be filled for others.

When the first pot is done, the tea is made again with the same leaves, but this time some sugar is added. The tea is poured, back and forth, back and forth, and again makes the rounds. In the third brewing, even more sugar is added. It’s the last and the sweetest.

The first strong cup is said to be bitter like death. The second is the blend of bitter and sweet in life. The third is sweet like love.

Speaking of love (How's that for a bad transition?), what I love about reading your blogs is that they make me think about all sorts of things I wouldn't normally think about in a day...like crushes...and Thai Chicken Soup with Lemongrass...and carved pumpkins...and James Taylor...and life choices...and practical jokes...and the Jayhawks...and days at home spent in pajamas.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And your visits are appreciated, oh international woman of mystery.

6:19 PM  
Blogger jen said...

and the same goes for you - trips to mali, bridges in timbuktu, and a woman who so completely loves other parts of the world that she can make you feel as if you are right there in her pocket as she goes.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

Thanks to you, I learn something new from some corner of the world every day! Just think we're all communing, in pajamas or work clothes, at desks or cubicles, or on laptops from dusty little villas in some faraway country, together, just like that!

7:44 PM  
Blogger meno said...

I suppose saying no to the tea is not an option.

The bitter/bittersweet/sweet progression for death/life/love, is wonderful.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Lucia said...

gr: And your visits are appreciated as well!

jen: Welcome to my pocket.

maggie: I love it that we all commune from everywhere in all sorts of ways.

meno: Thankfully, the tea can be politely refused once in a while. The ones late at night I passed on. If I have to sleep outside with scorpions, I don't want to be wide awake staring at the stars.

8:06 PM  
Blogger bobealia said...

I think I would wake up late just to avoid the bitter tea.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Thailand Gal said...

That tea is a bit hard to take! Aaarg

As for blogs, I like the way Alan Berg said it. (Yes, I do come up with some obscure references.) This is the electronic neighborhood. :)

8:05 AM  
Blogger Susan as herself said...

I think I'd want the middle brewing of tea---a mix of bitter and sweet. A little bit of bitterness makes the sweet taste even better.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous kat said...

I agree with Jen and Maggie. Your posts are wonderful and I always look forward to reading them.

Thank you for sharing with all of us.

11:40 AM  

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