Tea is the centerpiece of Jordanian culture. I’m in awe of how Jordanians drink tea. Like coffee, tea is served in tiny glasses. The glasses normally don’t have a handle, which makes it difficult to hold when hot. You become really good at holding the glass from the top so you won’t drop it! Besides generous servings of sugar, sometimes people put sage in the tea, which is my preferred way to drink it.
However, for me the tiny tea in Jordan isn’t about the taste – it’s about the social aspect. Just as Americans frequently ask “How are you?” Jordanians ask “Would you like some tea?” Normally it goes something like this:
“Where are you from?”
“I am from America.”
“Ahhh, welcome, welcome to Jordan!”
“Would you like to come in and have tea with me?”
I drank tea with some Bedouin craft women early in the morning in Petra (such a great memory to not be hassled by them to buy something, but simply sit and drink with them around their fire). I drank tea with young men in a chicken restaurant where they also insisted I share their roasted chicken, falafel, and a coke. I drank tea and chatted for 40 minutes with a man in his tobacco shop and even learned how to roll cigarettes. I drank tea with a woman who simply walked by me, asked me where I was from, and then proceeded to invite me into her home for tea.
Be open to the offers for tea, as it's one of the best ways to dive deep into the local life in Jordan.