A museum about tea, you say? In Germany, you say? The East Frisian Tea Museum hits almost all of the buzzwords that are guaranteed to get my attention. (If they somehow managed to tie pastry into the equation than I would, without a doubt, be a goner.) When we think of tea, we, arguably, tend to think of England as the leader for its consumption and India or maybe China as the primary providers. In truth there are far more locations involved in enjoyment of tea and the centuries old tea trade. But northern Germany? For some this may come as a big surprise.
East Frisia is located along the windy and cool North Sea coast not far from the Netherlands. It is in the northwestern part of Germany in the state of Lower Saxony. If you only consider the geographic location, it is not surprising that the East Frisians have a special place in their heart for a warm beverage like tea. But the people of East Frisia do not just drink tea, they have truly made it something of their own.
East Frisian tea is a special blend that is very strong. Historically, as a preference for coffee spread across Europe, the people of East Frisia remained faithful to tea. Part of that meant the custom of reusing their tea leaves. The result is a tea that is brewed repeatedly from the same leaves as a few new ones are also added to the pot. There is no filter or grinder for the tea leaves.
Perhaps the most interesting part, I found, is the way it is enjoyed. As dark and strong as the tea tends to be from the repeated brewings, the tea is sweetened in a special way. Traditionally, East Frisian tea is served with a spoonful of cream and a piece of white rock sugar.
To this day, the region is still famous for its tea which remains quite popular among the locals.
Which brings us to My Must See: the Ostfriesisches Teemuseum or the East Frisian Tea Museum.
The photographs on the museum’s website showcase an organized and modern museum with collections devoted to but limited to tea culture, tea ware, packaging, and, of course, the East Frisian tea ceremony. The museum is not limited to East Frisian or German tea culture but features exhibits that encompass the world’s fondness for tea. Several times a week the museum even holds a special tea ceremony that you can attend.
Unfortunately, the website for the East Frisian Tea Museum is only available in German. Schade. But do not let that deter you if you do not speak German or do not speak German that well. Certain topics are universal. And tea is certainly one of those topics.
Ostfriesisches Teemuseum // The East Frisian Tea Museum
Am Markt 36
Curious as to what other places, sites and locations are on My Must See list? See previous features.
Photographs courtesy of the Ostfriesisches Teemuseum // East Frisian Tea Museum website.