Many cultures have important rituals centered around tea. The Japanese tea ceremony can range from a simple gathering to an elaborate meal, while afternoon or high tea in the U.K. and Ireland is more of a daily snack. Even the variety of tea (including black, green, oolong, white, etc.) can make a difference.
In Mali, tea ceremonies signify friendship and welcoming. Malians generally simmer green tea and mint leaves in a small teapot before adding significant amounts of sugar. They drink several cups of the tea from small glasses and use this time (sometimes upwards of an hour and a half) to relax, chat, and take a break. The custom is so widespread that the tea is oftentimes referred to as the country’s “national drink.”