Bedouin Tea Recipe

Bismillah Rahman ar-Raheem.

Okay so my husband always tells me that

if you try for a million years you will not make tea like me

Therefore, perhaps I am not the best person to be writing this recipe but I haven’t been getting regular complaints (too weak, too strong, not sweet enough, too sweet) for about a year now, so I must be making some progress. : D. The art to it is in the balance of tea and sugar, and of course taste does seem to vary slightly from household to household. People do all seem to agree though when it is “good” tea or “bad” tea.

Ingredients – makes 1.5 ltr tea

  • 1.5 L Teapot that can be used on the stove (or a fire)
  • Little tea glasses
  • Sugar – two full tea glasses
  • Black loose tea – we use a ceylon tea which is not very fine (see pic) – this is somewhat to taste but should be about 1.5 desertspoons for this amount of tea. You are aiming for a rich red colour – not too black but should not be too weak so there is no colour. It is better to make it too strong rather than too weak.
  • optional – Dried sage, dried thyme or fresh mint
Ceylon Tea and Herbs
Clockwise: Ceylon loose tea, Sage, Fresh mint, fresh thyme

A Glass of Sugar IMG_6448


  1. Fill up the teapot with water (leave a couple of cm from the top empty) and put on the gas hob or fire (makes better tea) to boil.
  2. Add the sugar – anytime is fine. I do it early or I have a tendency to forget.
  3. Put the lid on when bringing to the boil to prevent flies, dust etc falling in. Careful as when it boils you can get a boiling water fountain rushing out of the spout, I tend to leave the lid on at a slight angle to prevent this.
  4. Once the water is boiling add the tea gradually. It has a habit to froth up when you first add it, so turn the heat down, add some, wait a little, then add the rest. Once all the tea is in, turn the heat up and down a bit. Alternating between high flame and low flame allowing it to boil a little – turning it down each time before it spills over.  If you are using Sage or Thyme this should also be added at this point. A large pinch of sage or thyme is good for this amount of tea. Don’t do this too long. The idea is to make sure all the tea has turned over a few times into the water.
  5. Take off the heat and allow to brew a few minutes. If you are using fresh mint add now. A large pinch of mint is good for this amount of tea.


  • Sage is used in winter because it has a warming affect. It is also made as above when someone is sick with a cold, or flu like symptoms without the black tea.
  • Mint is used in summer because it has a cooling affect.
  • Thyme is used for when people have food poisoning, or a general tummy upset, it is soothing & has a cleansing action. WARNING – pregnant women should not drink this as the women here say it can trigger a miscarriage.
  • If you are making tea for a group of people and some of them don’t necessarily want the herbs you can put a smaller pinch of herbs in the tea glass of those who do and pour the hot tea onto it.
  • For breakfast this tea is also drunk with powdered milk, or tinned condensed milk. Very tasty and hard to give up once you have a taste for it.
  • You can also make this tea with a stick of cinnamon – add about a 2 -3 inch stick to the tea just before it is boiling. This would always then be drunk with powdered milk, or the condensed milk.
  • Bedouin people do not eat sweets or a “pudding”/ desert after main meals, however, they do always drink a glass or two of this sweet tea.
  • I always have a chuckle to myself when making tea with other women. When using a new teapot or a size they don’t make regularly there is always a discussion about how many glasses of sugar should be used. I always laugh to myself because in the U.K we always discuss “how many teaspoons” is wanted, rather than”how many glasses”.

Bedouin Tea