Tea stalls draw crowds with unique blends

Adhamiya’s Al-Dhubbat Street: Where tea comes served with history

ADHAMIYA, 20 January – Every evening from 5 p.m. to dawn, Al-Dhubbat [Officers] Street in Adhamiya comes alive with the glow of stoves and the aroma of firewood smoke. This bustling street, established before the 1950s, is renowned for its numerous stalls selling charcoal-brewed tea, a local tradition that has become a part of the area’s identity.

According to Hamid Al-Obaidi, a long-time resident of Adhamiya, the street’s name, Al-Dhubbat Street, originated in the monarchy era. The name reflects the history of the area, where land was allocated to army officers opposite the Al-Asafi Mosque, while educators and teachers were given areas behind the mosque. This nomenclature has been in place since the late 1950s.

King Faisal II inaugurated the Al-Asafi Mosque in 1957, marking a transformation of the area. It shifted from a residential zone in the 1980s to a commercial hub in the 1990s, gaining momentum post-2003 era.

Today, the street is particularly known for its vibrant charcoal tea stalls that remain open until late into the night.

Abu Wissam, a charcoal tea vendor, attributes their choice of location to the high foot traffic and the draw of nearby shops. These tea stalls offer a unique experience, mixing four different types of tea, attracting customers who prefer their distinct blend over restaurant offerings. The vendors’ workday extends from the early evening until 3 a.m., catering to the night-time crowd.

He shares his perspective on the bustling atmosphere of the area, telling 964media: “We are standing here because of the high footfall on Officers Street and the frequent visits of people to the shops on this street. As a result, you will find some people leaving tea from the restaurant where they had a meal and coming to us.

“Here, we offer our customers a unique tea experience by blending four different types.”

This slice of life in Adhamiya highlights the cultural fabric of Baghdad, where traditional practices and modern commerce intersect.