Tea in the Middle East



During the spread of the coffee bean in the thirteenth century from Ethiopia to Yemen and the rest of the middle east, coffee was the number one drink consumed all over Arab countries.

However in the beginning of the nineteenth century, during the spread of the British Empire from the far east towards the middle east, tea slowly replaced coffee as the preferred drink in countries like Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, and Somalia.

The word tea in Arabic is “شاي”  or “shaaii” which comes from the Persian word “jaaii”. In the Middle East, tea is consumed anytime during the day with or without food. It is part of each celebration, and occasion. Usually, black tea is preferred in some countries of North Africa, while some gulf countries prefer tea with milk.

To prepare Middle Eastern tea (for 5 cups), you need the following:

  • 5 teaspoons of black tea (or 5 tea bags)
  • 1 spoon of diced raisins
  • 1 spoon of roasted almonds (finely chopped)
  • 4 spoons of Arak (in some Muslim countries, this ingredient is skipped)
  • honey according to taste

Try the above recipe and tell me what you think. Middle Eastern Tea is an experience by itself!