No mater the climate, there will be a place in every African town or village where you can stop and buy some coffee, juice or tea. Restorative beverages refresh the weary traveler or the tired city-dweller, especially when it is hot.
African juices, made fresh and often additionally sweetened, are beloved in nighttime cafes and gatherings in Muslim countries, where drinking alcohol is forbidden to most of the population. All local fruits can be made into juices — and they are. Making fresh juice at home is quick and easy, and a great way to get the benefits of eating lots of fresh fruit.
Blended with fresh fruit juices and infused vodkas, African cocktails profit from the myriad tastes and flavors offered by the bounty of the continent. Spices enliven and deepen rum, and a vanilla bean infused into vodka with cinnamon bark is delicious on its own, or mixed into iced black tea. Our complete Cocktail How-To will guide you and give you the confidence to become a bona fide African mixologist.
African coffee has its own special spice mixtures and flavorings, depending on where you are. In the North, coffee is boiled over a strong flame and mixed with cardamom and mastic. To the West, there is cafe touba, a heady spice mix even stronger than North Africa’s qahawa. In East and Southern Africa, where coffee is grown in the shade of the forested highlands, coffee that is roasted and ground locally is traditionally served sweet, with lots of fresh milk.
Tea is even more popular than coffee, and again, each region and community has its specialties and variations in the subtleties of preparing tea. In the North and the West, mint and lots of sugar is preferred, as are the theatrics of serving tea from dainty clear shot-glasses edged in flowers and gold. Black or green tea is used, depending on where you are and on local preference. In the East and South, sweet milky chai is poured into thermos for office workers and guards staying up at night.