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What: Attaya, also spelled ataya or ataaya, is the preferred tea of Senegal, a sweet, pungent brew of (Chinese) green tea leaves, plenty of sugar, and often mint. The word itself really describes the act of making the tea, a three-cup ritual during which the attaya maker boils the tea; pours a serving into a tiny glass; pours it back and forth into another glass, creating foam and mixing the sugar; and passes the glass around. This is done three times, with each glass becoming progressively sweeter and mintier. For the tea drinkers, there’s plenty of time to sit around and socialize after a meal, which is the primary goal of attaya.
If you are not invited in by a local for attaya, you will likely encounter this drink in Dakar on the street, where you’ll receive just one tiny but potent cup of tea.
Where: We found some delicious attaya on the street in N’Gor, from a small stand just next to the USAID Rice Shack and behind an entrepreneur named Papa Seck, peddling jewelry and masks. It was the perfect end to a big, cheap lunch of ceebu yapp and friends.
When: No specific hours, but it’s safe to say the stand will be open every day around lunchtime.
Order: One cup of attaya, served in a small plastic cup, is 50 CFA. Thick, sweet, and strong, it was instantly preferable to the local coffee around here. As you can see, you don’t get as much foam as you would in a proper tea ritual.
Alternatively: Unfortunately we don’t know of any restaurants that offer attaya—most places you see thé on the menu, it’ll be Lipton. If someone invites you in for tea, as we were in Popenguine to the south, accept and you’ll experience the true attaya ceremony.
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