The way to Have a Very German Tea Ceremony

It might come as a shock to listen to that espresso is Germany’s hottest drink, reasonably than beer. The inhabitants, on common, consumes 6.5 kilos (14.3 kilos) of espresso per particular person, yearly. However in a single tiny German area, one other brew solely reigns supreme.

East Frisia, situated within the German state of Decrease Saxony, is extremely happy with its long-held tea custom. In truth, a German tea affiliation as soon as estimated that East Frisians drink extra tea than anybody else on earth, at 300 liters, or almost 80 gallons per person per year. “Germans are espresso drinkers. However in North Germany, individuals like ingesting tea. And East Frisians particularly drink plenty of black tea,” says Sabrina Roth, an educator on the East Frisian Tea Museum in Norden, Decrease Saxony.

Tea first arrived in East Frisia within the seventeenth century, after sailors from the Dutch East India Firm introduced tea leaves to Europe. However tea ingesting didn’t grow to be widespread within the common inhabitants till nicely into the nineteenth century. The leaves have been costly and needed to be imported from the world over. However as soon as tea gained a foothold, it grew to become a fiercely beloved—and defended—a part of East Frisian tradition.

Layering the ingredients in the tea creates a three-flavor experience.
Layering the elements within the tea creates a three-flavor expertise. mauritius pictures GmbH / Alamy

To be invited into an East Frisian dwelling usually means participating in a tea ceremony of such cultural significance that UNESCO acknowledged it as Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2016. First, the particular person getting ready the tea rinses the pot with sizzling water, then provides a robust mix of Assam tea to the still-warm vessel. The tea then steeps in sizzling water for 3 to 5 minutes.

But it surely’s when the tea is poured out that the individuality of the East Frisian tea ritual is revealed. Hosts add a bit of rock sweet, or Kluntje within the regional dialect, to the underside of every cup. The chunk of sugar is adopted by a stream of tea. A tiny spoonful of whipping cream on prime creates a visible impact known as Wulkje, or “little cloud.” The combination is definitely not stirred in any respect, in order that “the primary sips are creamy, in the midst of the cup, it’s bitter, and on the backside, it’s candy,” explains Roth. And when the new, robust tea is poured over the sweet, it offers off a pleasing crackling sound. This, says Roth, is “the favourite sound of East Frisians.”

However there may be extra to tea ingesting in East Frisia than simply the gustatory expertise. “You’re feeling the heat of the cup, you may style the tea, you may scent it. You see the little cloud within the cup,” she continues. “You hear the rock sweet crackle. It’s an expertise involving all senses.”

East Frisian tea sets are generally decorated with pink or blue flowers.
East Frisian tea units are usually adorned with pink or blue flowers.
Agencja Fotograficzna Caro / Alamy

However regardless of its central place within the tradition right now, all through historical past, numerous authorities have tried to ban, limit, or ration tea ingesting in East Frisia. For instance, within the 18th century, King Frederick the Nice at first supported tea consumption in that area and even exported tea himself, however later declared tea a waste of taxpayer cash and brazenly doubted the well being advantages of the drink. As an alternative, he urged tea-drinkers to change to native beer or infusions of lemongrass. However regardless of his ban, tea tradition persevered in East Frisia, with locals both smuggling in tea leaves or brazenly flouting the royal directive. The Prussian king finally gave up and allowed the Frisians their tea.

East Frisians have maintained their distinctive tea custom principally on account of location. “You will have the North Sea to the north, and bogland to the south,” says Roth. “It’s sparsely populated and it takes a very long time for traditions in remoted areas like this to take maintain.” However tea had sufficient time to safe itself completely within the hearts of East Frisians.

Tea in East Frisia consists primarily of Assam, however the composition modifications from harvest to reap. To maintain the style of their brews constant, East Frisian tea firms rigorously check them yearly. “There isn’t any recipe for a typical Ostfriesenmischung, or East Frisian tea combine,” says Roth. “Generally there is perhaps six tea varieties in a bag and typically it’s as much as 30 or 40. It’s a must to do the work of testing and mixing yearly.”

Tea shops and museums pay homage to tea all over the region.
Tea retailers and museums pay homage to tea all around the area. Public Domain

East Frisians like having their tea time twice a day, at 11 a.m. and three p.m., however some locals drink tea 5 to 6 occasions a day. To accompany the tea, there’s usually a bit of raisin bread with butter, or skinny waffles.

Hosts usually supply visitors no less than three cups of tea. This may, says Roth, appear at odds with the German stereotype that East Frisians are unrefined, and even impolite. However in response to Roth, the stereotype can’t be farther from the reality. It’s extra that “they will talk with only a few phrases,” says Roth. “You see it within the typical greeting. It’s sufficient to say, Moin,” which merely means “morning” within the native dialect.

However, she provides, “simply not an excessive amount of speaking.” Significantly better to get pleasure from a cup of tea or three.

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