African Tea Recipe: Tea Leaves with the Tea they make

African Tea

Have you ever wondered how to make a proper cup of African tea or osang tea as it is known in Equatorial Guinea? If so look no further, here’s the recipe I use to make delicious, milky, spiced African tea. Enjoy!

Osang Tea/African Tea Recipe

Ingredients

1 part water
1 part milk
Spices or herbs of your choice such as ginger, lemongrass, tea masala, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or black pepper
1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves or 1 tea bag per cup of tea
sugar to taste

Directions

  1. Mix milk and water in a pot.
  2. On high heat, bring the water and milk mixture to a boil.
  3. While the mixture is heating up, add your chosen spices and herbs to taste.
  4. Once it boils (watch closely so that it does not boil over!), turn off the heat.
  5. Add tea leaves to the pot, cover, and let the tea steep for a minute or two until it is your desired strength (you can judge this from its color).
  6. If required, i.e, if you used loose tea or spices/herbs that must be removed from the tea before drinking, sieve the tea into a tea flask or tea pot. If you used tea bags, remove the tea bags and/or spices or herbs that need to be removed.
  7. Pour your tea into a cup.
  8. Add sugar to taste, and that’s it.

Drink and enjoy!

What Tea Leaves Should You Use to Make Osang Tea/African Tea?

I have been making African tea for over thirty years, across many countries and continents, and I have used countless brands of tea—some African, others not—to do so.

A teaspoon of loose black tea

The most important thing is to use black tea. You can use whichever brand is readily available.

Some African tea brands that I use time and time again, and particularly enjoy, include:

Now, let me tell you a little more…

My Backstory with African Tea

I come from a people who are truly committed to their tea drinking.

On my mother’s side of the family, every time is tea time. I am sure some of you, my readers, can relate to your mothers being this way too. 🙂

And when I say tea, I don’t mean the wimpy mixture of tea and water served to you at most establishments, where you get to mix the water and tea in your cup as you put together your tea.

Tea, milk, and macroons

I mean the potent, fierce stuff that is cooked on a stove and served in flasks that’s to be drunk at scalding hot temperatures.

Do you now know what I am talking about?

Some call it chai or osang tea. Others simply refer to it as “African tea”.

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I was never a tea drinker until very recently.

A few years ago, an incident involving my drinking two cups of tea in quick succession was reason enough for my aunt to ask me if everything was OK.

She couldn’t remember having ever seen me drink tea, let alone having two cups in quick succession. (Incidentally, something was bothering me that night which might have been the reason for the strange occurrence.)

When I was a little younger, I often told my aunts, “Let those who drink complicated drinks make it for themselves.”

African women drinking tea together

I never understood their constant need to be drinking tea.

Frankly, neither did I understand why it was worth the hassle for me to make it for them.

Now, I know better.

My Conversion

Strange as it may seem, I have become a convert of African tea.

Nothing tastes better to me than my daily morning and evening cups of tea made just right: with lots of milk, sugar, and tea leaves.

The temperature of the tea also has to be just right.

Nothing but the hottest tea will do for me unless I am extremely desperate. 🙂

I love the burning sensation of the hot tea as it goes down my throat!

So…how exactly does one make a good cup of osang tea or African tea?

To this question, I am sure there is no right or wrong answer—everyone has their own recipe for perfection.

All I would like to do here is share my recipe with you, and then you can tweak that to come up with one that’s just right for you.

Either way, the basics are pretty much the same.

Here goes.

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Chai overlay

Recipe for Osang Tea/African Tea

First, I mix (full fat) milk and water in a pot in a 1-to-1 ratio.

Some like to have more milk than this in their tea for a creamier taste (yummy!), while others prefer to have more water in their tea so that it’s thirst-quenching (not so yummy).

A 1-to-1 ratio is the balance I have learned to strike between having very milky tea, which can be quite calorific, and tea that’s too watery, and therefore plain not delicious.

Once mixed, I place my pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.

While my milk-and-water mixture is heating up, I walk into my garden and pick a few leaves of lemongrass, which I then wash and crumple into the mixture.

I love spicing my tea with lemongrass!

Other spices commonly used in African tea are ginger (fresh or ground) and Tea Masala (which I like a lot too).

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Once spiced, I let the mixture come to a boil while keeping close watch so that it does not boil over.

I then switch off the heat from my mixture in preparation of adding tea leaves to it.

According to my mother, boiling tea leaves affects their taste negatively. (After many years of not believing her, I now know exactly what she means.)

I then add tea leaves to the mixture, adding one teaspoon of loose tea leaves or one tea bag per cup of mixture.

This measure has served me well for the most part but may need to be varied depending on the type and strength of tea being used.

I then let my tea brew covered for a minute or two.

Finishing Touches

Straining milk tea through a sieve

If I used loose tea leaves, I then proceed to sieve my tea into a flask.

If not, I pour my tea directly into a flask without sieving (which is why I prefer to use tea bags instead of loose tea)).

Et voilà!

My tea is ready for consumption.

I add sugar to taste, and that’s it!

Are you a tea lover?

If so, is there some special mode of preparation that you use when making your tea? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

In the meantime, here is a video of someone who does it a little differently than I do but still makes essentially the same kind of tea spiced with ginger.

For now, all this talk of tea has made me crave yet another cup.

I think it’s time I go fix one.

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Until the next time,
Biche

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Please pin it:

African Tea ReCIpe (Uganda) - Faded Wedding Style Pin

Photo Credits: Ty Konzak, Jumia Kenya, Masterfile, kenya.info.ke, Chelsea Kyle/Ali Nardi, ShangaiDaily.com

8 thoughts on “African Tea”

At this point I would kill for a cup of tea of a 1to1 ratio, lemon grass/ginger or tea masala.As it happends I am in the office feeling completely unproductive and ofcourse craving for “chai”

Tante,

Hehehehe…I know what a tea craving is like especially when you know it’s almost impossible to get. I hope you got home and satisfied your craving.

But what am I saying?! You’ve just sent me an SMS telling me you are at Zone, where I am pretty sure you are not having tea! 🙂

More on text,
Biche

Thanks for your recipe, Biche! When in Rwanda our hosts served us Ginger Milk Tea every morning with breakfast and all through the day if we wanted it! Now that I want to add ginger to my daily diet, I remembered the milk tea and sought out just how to make it! Love it. Take care…Gail

My daughter is a missionary in Uganda. She was married last summer to a wonderful Ugandan named Steven. While there we were introduced to African tea. I have always been a fan of milk and tea, the two together with Masala was awesome. I have not tried fresh ginger tea but to be honest I am not a morning person and like the simple powder. Getting Masala on Amazon is possible but I decided to try making it myself. All I was missing was cardamom and used all spice instead, not as good but I might order some soon and try it to see the difference. The overall balance I use is, 2 ginger, ½ cinnamon, ¼ black pepper, ¼ all spice, ¼ cloves, ¼ nutmeg. The cinnamon is a bit heavier but I like it that way. I make it with loose leaf Barry’s Gold Blend Tea because bags are just not strong enough. A stainless steel double wall french press makes it simple and keeps it hot, then steep for five minutes or longer. I drink it with 1/4 to 1/3 milk, yes 1 to 1 is better but as you said calories to taste is a concern and I drink it all day. Thank you for your article and giving me a place to share.

Hi Joel,

Welcome to Chick About Town! Thank you for leaving me a comment. I can tell from they way you write that you are a true African tea fan. Thanks for sharing the exact method you use to make your African tea. I have to try your masala spice mixture. Sounds like it should do the trick. I’ll have to stick to cardamom instead of allspice though because allspice is virtually impossible to get in Uganda. I’ll keep you posted! 🙂

Biche

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