Tea is more than a beverage in Senegal, it is a ceremony and a kind of institution. People sometimes drink tea at breakfast but more particularly after meals. It is also the beverage that is offered to friends and visitors. Drinking tea promotes conversation and maintains friendship because it takes a long time to prepare properly.
A mint tea, served in three separate stages, is called "the three concoctions". Chinese green tea leaves are put into the teapot with some 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 is quite bitter, the second is sweeter and the third is very sweet but does not have much taste because the same leaves are used to prepare all three glasses.
The words used in various ethnic languages to refer to the tea, the teapot and the mint are borrowed from Arabic, proving that Senegalese mint tea is of Moorish origin.
The woman preparing the tea comes from Mauritania, a neighbouring country to Senegal. She is wearing a traditional woman’s outfit.
Musée de la Femme "Henriette Bathily"
Canadian Heritage Information Network