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The sacred coffee of Amadou Bamba

SENEGAL - The sacred coffee of Amadou Bamba SENEGAL The sacred coffee of Amadou Bamba

In a modern country like Senegal, coffee has a long tradition: even today, cafè Touba can be found everywhere. This coffee recipe was perfected in the late 19th century by the Sheikh Amadou Bamba, the spiritual, charismatic leader of the Murid Sufi, who is said to have introduced coffee to the country.

Cafè Touba is flavoured with cloves and jarr (Guinea pepper): this gives it a highly aromatic flavour, and according to its inventor it has medicinal properties. Bamba’s historic and political significance means that his coffee has become a symbol of identity and belonging to the African community. That is way Touba is popular almost exclusively among the Senegalese.

Cafè Touba is drunk in all the tangana, suburban street cafes where you can find a perfect example of local street cuisine: sparsely furnished with benches and large tables, they also serve food and are always busy at any time of day. Westerners prefer the French-style cafè filtre or instant coffee, which can be enjoyed at one of the few still-remaining colonial bars such as the famous Safari Bar in Saint Louis.




Café Touba - Senegalese coffee with spices

Ingredients for the blend:

  • For every 100 g (3.5 oz) of Robusta coffee beans, still green:
  • 10 g (0.35 oz) of jarr (pepper grains, Xylopia aethiopica)
  • 10 g (0.35 oz) of cloves (optional)

For the infusion:

  • 4 tablespoons of coffee blended with the spices
  • 800 ml (28 oz) of water
  • Sugar to taste


Toast the coffee beans in a metallic pannikin with the pepper grains, and the cloves if desired. Once they turn a nice, evenly dark colour, allow them to cool and grind them in a mortar or a coffee grinder. Bring the water to the boil, and in the meantime prepare four spoonfuls of the coffee-spice blend in a gauze filter and arrange it atop a jug. When the water has boiled, pour it gently over the filter and let it drip through completely. Repeat two or three times, adding a lot of sugar between one pouring and the next, and serve your coffee very hot.

Sandwiches or pain chargé - Baguette stuffed with Senegalese chicken


  • 1 chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 stock cube, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 hot pepper (optional)
  • Peanut oil
  • 1 baguette
  • Mayonnaise or butter (optional)

For the sauce:

  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ lemon, squeezed
  • Salt

Season the chicken cubes with the pepper, diced garlic and hot pepper, and crumbled stock cube. Mix well and let the mixture set for a bit. In the meantime, prepare the sauce with the tomatoes, seeded and cubed, combine with chopped onion and flavour with the mustard and lemon juice. Heat the peanut oil in the pan, and when very hot, brown the chicken. Then slice the baguette in half, spread with butter or mayonnaise, stuff with the sautéed chicken, top with the tomato sauce, and serve with a hot cup of coffee.