Somali Shaa

A Heady Ginger and Mint Tea with Aromatic Spices 

Mamanushka, it turns out has a penchant for fragrant drinks. We’ve had Saffron  Kahwa from Kashmir, Orange Blossom Date Cooler from Fez, age old Ayurvedic Turmeric Milk , the ever so English Elderflower Cordial, and Home-made Strawberry Syrup shake.  So when my friend Hafsa served us some Somali Shaa at a  get-together, I knew at first sip that I had to share this magic with you.

Nowadays, no girlfriends gathering is complete without a kettle each of Saffron Kehwa and Somali Shaa. Seriously it’s so cute. If teas could be people  these two would be sisters for sure.

Whereas the Saffron Kehwa is a light refreshing tea – The Somali Shaa is darker, with a subtle kick to it.  I like to think of it as Somali Shaa being Kashmiri Kehwa’s older, wiser, more experienced confidante. 

The ginger and mint and cloves, cardamom and cinnamon  combo should be a perfume.  I’ve made this tea countless times and each time I savour the fragrance trying to figure out how I could describe it to you guys because it is a totally delicious blend of warm sugary ginger and aromatic spices.

Evocative of old school tea-houses – you can sit back and imagine you’re right in the middle of a vintage tea house in a bustling souk. It’s just got those vibes which makes it  a perfect festive offering. So go ahead and put this straight on your list of celebratory drinks. Whether you are celebrating Eid or Ramadan or whether you are celebrating a quiet hour while the kids are (finally!) asleep and everything in between!

I’ve been told you can add milk but make sure to try it without first. This is how my friend Hafsa’s mom makes it and trust me, you will love it.


4 and Half Cups of water

4 Cardamom pods (lightly pounded)

2 Cloves
1 Cinnamon stick

1-2 tsp Ginger (fresh or powdered)

Mint leaves – a generous bunch

Honey/Sugar/ for sweetness

Optional ~ Black tea (leaves or one tea bag)



This method is for aproximately 4 servings

Tea should always be brewed with fresh cold water so start by pouring the water into a pot

Add the cloves, cinnamon stick and the green cardimom pods. Bring to a boil on high heat and let it boil for five minutes. After five minutes steep the ginger and mint leaves into the bubbling water and keep on a high/medium heat for approximately eight minutes.

After eight minutes, add your choice of tea, turn the heat up high and continue to let it boil for two more minutes. I have used Earl grey and Assam tea in the past but you can use any tea you like or none at all.

Now is the time to add the sweetness. I know we like to keep the sugar to a minimum but let’s all agree to not skimp on it this time! If you want to avoid white sugar try a natural alternative like honey, agave nectar or coconut sugar. Don’t add less than 4 teaspoons and then test for taste. You might even add a couple more! Oh and if you’re going with honey, turn the heat off and add honey to the tea just before serving. Inhale the aroma. Relax. Enjoy your Somali Shaa.

Thank you so much Hafsa for sharing your mom’s recipe and method. In Love.

Will you be trying this? Let us know !

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  • Reply Soporian March 27, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Yum! Can I make this without mint? Or is there just no point? And is fresh ginger preferable to powdered?

    • Reply Sumaya April 12, 2018 at 1:46 am

      Most Somali’s make this without the mint so it’s not an essential ingredient but once you have it with mint … you just can’t go back! 😆

    • Reply Sumaya April 12, 2018 at 1:47 am

      Also you can use either fresh or powdered but powdered makes it stronger

  • Reply Pabx March 12, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    This. Sounds. Intoxicating! (in halal kind of way)

    • Reply Mamanushka March 12, 2018 at 9:24 pm

      Oh my… that is exactly the right word – it totally is!

  • Reply Uzma March 9, 2018 at 3:16 am

    I will try it, maybe today.

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