Written for BITE: An NYU Food Studies Graduate Society Publication
When one thinks of tea-drinking countries, places like China, India, and even Japan and Russia might come to mind. All of these countries have long histories and a deep relationship with tea. Even Britain’s relationship with tea is relatively recent in comparison.
However, there is one part of the world that has a strong culture of drinking tea that most don’t think of: West Africa. In my home country of Nigeria, and in Northern Nigeria in particular, drinking tea is more than a pastime, but is part of a larger practice of hospitality that is central to our culture. The Hausa people are the largest ethnic group in sub saharan Africa, and one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria. For many Hausa people in Northern Nigeria, tea is drunk for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and is an important part of entertaining guests.