In Nima, in Ghana, tea preparation and ceremony is very elaborate. As head of the household, it is conducted by men, and due to its involved procedure, it enables ample opportunity for conversation. It creates a welcoming environment for guests. The ceremony is known as Ataya.
Since some of the tea customs came from Senegal, Ataya is one of them. It is made in a stainless steel kettle, and is served in three rounds. The first round of tea is always strong and bitter, the second more sweet with a little mint, and the third, very sweet.
Why three rounds? There are various reasons, all folk legend, but one such is this: “The first cup is the love of your mother. The second is the love of your friends. The third is the love of your love.”
There is a caution, however. One psychiatrist warned of too much caffeine, stating he was seeing patients diagnosed with Ataya induced psychotic disorders.
Maybe there is too much of a good thing?
Today I am drinking a black tea with wild cherry.