Recipe: North African Sage n’ Green Tea

There are a few ways to keep cool in hot weather. In the west, we wear shorts, drink cold drinks, and blast the A/C. In Niger, they use a completely different set of tricks. The polar opposite, in fact.

For starers, they cover up. Believe it or not, wearing long layers made of lightweight cotton keeps the sun’s hot rays off your skin. The flowing movement of the fabric acts like natural air conditioning.

Wodaabe Woman in Niger. Photo by Dan Lundberg

The elephants accomplish the same thing by dusting themselves with dirt. Not quite as desirable if you have somewhere nice to go.

Elephant taking a dust bath. Photo by Roland Hunziker.

There’s one other trick to staying cool in Niger.

Drinking hot tea. While it sounds like it’d make an already hot day feel like an inferno, it is the opposite. The hot liquid makes you perspire… and the tiny beads of sweat catch the slightest breeze, cooling you off. That’s what our tour guide in Tunisia told me, anyway (they do the same thing all over North Africa).

All you do is splash hot water over green tea and…

a small bundle of sage leaves. I started with 3 leaves and eventually added 9 for more robust flavor.

Sweeten to taste….

And enjoy!





Yes, we rather love this new sage sipper.

Mr Picky’s thoughts?

“Just don’t burn your lips.”

There’s not much to this fragrant tea. Here’s what I combined:


2 tsp green tea
2 1/2 cups  simmering water
6-9 fresh sage leaves

sugar, to taste (the more the better)


Let all ingredients steep together for 4-5 minutes. Serve in small glass teacups from your local Middle Eastern market. Enjoy this warm glass love!


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  1. We love tea-black, green, white, red, silver tips, gold tips, chai, etc. Well, if you are referring to tea in general, not just green tea, additions could include-cardemon, cinnamon-sometimes those in the tea filter or tea itself, mint leaves, etc. In Sri-Lanka they drink a lot of hot tea, and partly to cool down-which is sometimes hard to understand the logic as you are sweating away and your mouth is on fire from the spicy food itself. No such thing as ice-tea, but ice coffee at times.
    Jassy loves seeing Ava, she really has grown, esp her hair.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Ahh! We just gave her a haircut. Wait til you see.. it’s only about 3 inches shorter, but it seems really short! It is only her second haircut ever…. sigh. P.S. All that tea sounds fantastic!

  2. great read for these hot days….i have tea bags and loose leaf thanks to santa!

  3. Celeste Childress says:

    Sasha – Where is the Middle East store in Tulsa – also, is that we you got your tangine?

    • Sasha Martin says:

      There’s one at 51 across from the Farm Shopping Center… and there’s one on Memorial, but it’s farther for me and I’m not exactly sure where it is. I got my tagine at Williams Sonoma, actually.

  4. I have a hard time finding good quality loose tea that I can afford. But I’ve just recently started making yerba mate. That’s an interesting concoction. An acquired taste, definitely. Best cold brewed — I learned that the hard way.


  1. Menu: Niger says:

    […] African Sage n’ Green Tea [Recipe] Green tea steeped with fresh sage leaves and as much sugar as you can stand. Yes, they sip it […]

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