East Frisian Tea
It may be somewhat daring to call East Frisia (A region of northwest Germany bordering the Netherlands and the North Sea) a “Nation” and its’ tea the “National Drink” but East Frisians are avid tea drinkers and the whole process of brewing and drinking tea can take on the dimension of a sacred ritual. On average, East Frisians consume a stunning 2,500g per person/year. The average for all of Germany is 250gr per person per year.
All the East Frisian blends have a strong Second Flush Assam content, blended with quite small amounts of teas from Darjeeling, Java, and Ceylon. These blends, particuliar to East Frisia, are drunk with the addition of a lump of “Kluntje” (a large white rock candy sugar) and a small spoonful of cream in each cup. The flavor is malty, strong, and highly aromatic. Protocol demands that the tea must never be stirred in the cup, because the true sensory experience comes in three layers.
"Teetied" (teatime) In Ostfriesland
Place 1 teaspoon of tea per cup (approx. 1g) plus one for the pot, into a preheated porcelain pot. Pour fresh, bubbling-boiling water. Steep for 3-5 minutes. Pour the tea through a strainer into the serving teapot. Or steep in the serving teapot and strain. Or use filters to brew, then remove the tea & filter.
Place kluntje in the cup. Pour in hot tea, listening for the crackle, until 1/2-3/4 full. After the turbulence subsides, use a Sahneloffel (small cream ladle) to pour heavy cream along the inside of the cup. The cream will fall down into the cup, but rise creating a cloud effect, with some settling on the top.
The spoon is not used for stirring, allowing the three layers of flavor to be experienced. First the creamy (“sky”), then the tea infusion (“water”) and finally the sweetness of the sugar (”land”).
However, placing your spoon in the cup (after 3 cups) tells the server you've had enough.
The server usually takes the first pour, presumed to be the weakest, then serves around the table. It's best to finish each cup so that the next isn't too "muddy" looking. A good server monitors the number of cups.
A baked good usually accompanies the tea.
Ostfriesen Tea & Porzellan Shop. Daniel Lippitt, Proprietor
1516 Lynchburg Trl., Madison, WI 53718-8228