Germany may be known as a primarily beer or coffee drinking country. Yet, it also has a thriving tea culture. From black Ostfriesentee in the far northwest of the country to Kräutertee in the rest of the country. Here is a snapshot of the main facts on German tea.
If you visit the area known as Ostfriesland (East Frisia) in the far northwest of Lower Saxony. “Zeit für eine Tasse Tee” is a call often heard in Norden, a town close to the North Sea. Certainly, East Frisia’s proximity to the tea-loving people of the Netherlands and Great Britain has something to do with sipping a cup of black tea sourced in India or China. In fact, similar to champagne in France, true East Frisian tea or “Ostfriesentee” is a protected European regional specialty requiring that “Ostfriesentee” must be packaged in East Frisia.
In the East Frisian town of Norden, Lower Saxony, you can even find a Teemuseum (Tea Museum) which showcases many facts about tea and German tea culture. For example, the traditional East Frisian tea ceremony involves pouring the steeped, very strong black tea over a candied sugar cube in the cup and then adding a little bit of cream. This is to achieve the effect so that each sip contains a different flavor profile influenced by one of the different elements.
Although coffee may be the hot beverage of choice in the rest of the country, you’ll find that “Kräutertee” (herbal teas) or “Früchtetee” (fruit teas) will be served in most households and restaurants as well. Revered for their many health benefits, herbal and fruit teas are becoming a popular alternative to sugary soft drinks. Served ice-cold, they make robust, flavorful, and thirst-quenching beverages. Among the most popular flavors are rosehip (hibiscus), chamomile, peppermint, berry (especially blackberry), lemon verbena or even nettles.
Infusions, Recipes and Food Pairings
Herbal or fruit teas complement a morning pastry or afternoon slice of cake, or infuse cocktails, chocolates, and candies as well. In the 19th century, French and German butchers created a finely-ground sausage spread called “Teewurst,” to be served as a savory alternative to slices of cake with tea in the afternoon. Tea cocktails and tea infusion recipes are hot trends in bars and restaurant.
Leading German Tea Brands
Teekanne is both a global tea company and an independent family business. Known for their quality and commitment to sustainability. Founded in 1882, they are located in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Founded in 1852, the Meßmer tea company is today a part of the East Frisian Tea Association (OTG). Known for establishing the patent for the tea bag, they are based in Hamburg, Germany.
This 130-year-old classic tea company originates in Germany’s tea heartland itself – East Frisia. The Onno Behrends brand is a proud part of the East Frisian Tea Association (OTG) based in Hamburg, Germany).
Ostfrisischer Schwarztee (East Frisian Black Tea)
Returning finally to the famous East Frisian black tea, we have two offerings which can help you recreate something akin to the true East Frisian tea ceremony experience right in your own home. Teekanne’s Earl Grey is a classic bergamot infused black tea blend which can be steeped for longer than the recommended 3-5 minutes for a stronger taste. Poured over one of our new Krusten Kandis from Nordzucker with a bit of your favorite cream splashed in at the end, this delightful mixture will make you feel a part of the ever-growing East Frisian tea tradition.
To view more of our robust tea selection of popular varieties, check out our tea collection on thetasteofgermany.com. Whether a traditional old favorite or something new and refreshing, you’re sure to find an authentic German tea for your next cup.