Drinking tea in Khartoum
Sudan has a well rooted tea culture. Tea or coffee time is one of the most important parts of their daily ritual. The tea ladies come before the sun, lighting fires, shaking jars, spooning sugar. They hum and sing, lost women marked with tribal symbols, far from home. They sit and wait, kettles hissing in ember and ash, the great day beginning, rolling off the Nile like a damp, smothering cloth.
Their way of making tea is almost ceremonial. Just as Ethiopia has its own coffee ceremony, Sudanese tea ladies have their own special tools, a unique serving style and a unique relationship with their customers.
On her counter you’ll see clear tea glasses and about a dozen jars of tea, coffee, sugar, and herbs such as mint, cinnamon, cloves, as well as medicinal teas like Mahareb and hibiscus. Coffee is taken with ginger, and tea can be mixed with variety of herbs such as mint or cinnamon.