Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Give me tea, O Saqi,
and let there be no delay;
let me have it bitter,
if milk and sugar are not at hand.
Had Jamshid taken a draught from this pot,
his slow-beating pulse
would have run like a deer.
Have you heard the boiling kettle of the tea
cry bagg, bagg?
Verily you would say
it was Mansur shouting ana al-haqq.
There is a reference in the Book of God:
Bread to eat and tea to drink.
Tea plant
Masala Chai
Indian Spiced Tea
Milky, sweet and intensely aromatic, this version of tea is served at chaikhanes throughout Central Asia.
Total time: 30 minutes
8 cups water
2 sticks cinnamon
20 whole cloves
20 pods cardamom
8 ½" slices ginger root, unpeeled
1 tsp. peppercorns
2 tsp. coriander seeds
8 tsp. loose black tea leaves or 8 tea bags
2 cups milk
Sugar or honey to taste

Combine fresh cold water and spices in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the milk and return to a simmer; then turn off the heat, add the tea and steep for 3 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve and sweeten to taste. Makes 8 servings.