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

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Mongolian Millet & Green Milk Tea | Suutei Tsai

  If tea time in your home means sweet, sugary cups of deliciousness, think again. This week we’re sipping on salty, milky green tea cooked with buttery toasted millet. This is one of the more elaborate versions of Suutei Tsai – a famous Mongolian drink enjoyed out on the cold steppes. Each sip tastes of milk and salt and cereal – but the drink also has a remarkable drying effect in the mouth, thanks to a healthy dose of naturally astringent green tea. This is absolutely the strangest tea I have ever sipped. But Suutei Tsai is also delightful – it just begs to be sipped under the starlight on a frosty winter evening. Or perhaps on a chilly spring day, while watching wild horses gallop through the horizon. Everything written about Suutei Tsai claims that westerners have trouble enjoying this drink. I find, however, that if you go into it expecting hot, milky cereal you’ll be alright. In other words, don’t expect sweet tea. Just forget about sugar entirely. And pass the salt. httpv:// …

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Traditional North African Green Mint Tea

Do you have a steady hand? Can you pour tea from several feet up without shaking, spilling, or missing entirely? If so, give me a call. We’re going to need you. We’ve got some frothy tea to make. It’s going to be fun. In fact, quite possibly the most fun I’ve had on this Adventure to eat the world is when we try new teas. The effort is minimal, yet the flavor impact is huge. Today is no exception. Not only did we buckle up to try the super sweet “Morroccan-style” green mint tea served all over north Africa, but I took care to prepare it the traditional way, in small glass tea cups (available at Middle Eastern markets – 6/$6).  The trick is to cook the tea several times and pour the tea from way up high -about 2-3 feet. This creates a frothy top that looks, right after pouring, a lot like a tiny tumbler of beer. And then there’s quite possible the most important part: the chitter chatter along the way. This …

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