Thursday, April 24, 2014

GERMAN OSTFRIESENTEE


Location of East Frisia, Germany
Photo by Onno / CC BY


Ostfriesisches Teemuseum at Norden area of East Frisia, Germany
Photo by WHVer, Uwe Karwath, Wilhelmshaven / CC BY


Brown Kluntjes (There's also white Kluntjes)
Photo by brandonshigeta / CC BY


Ostfriesentee with Cloud of Cream
Photo by Ke.We. / CC BY


"Blau Dresmer" (a blue colored pattern)
Photo by Sybille Fuhrmann


"Rood Dresmer" (red peony/rose pattern) Tea Set with Teapot Sitting on Top of "Stövchen"
Photo by beartrax / CC BY

OTHER NAMES: East Frisian Tea, Ostfriesiskt Te (in Sweden)

The name of the tea, “Ostfriesentee” literally means East Frisian Tea. East Frisia (Ostfriesland in Sweden or German) is a region in northwestern Germany. Tea is their national drink and Ostfriesentee is their specialty. [1] East Frisia is deeply rooted with tea drinking culture that they even have tea museums called "Ostfriesisches Teemuseum." [2] Tea is served whenever there are visitors or gathering, as well as with breakfast, mid-afternoon, and mid-evening. [3] In the 2012 statistic, The East Frisians had the world's largest tea consumption per capita, which on average each person drinks around 300 liters of tea in that year. This is approximately 12 times an average German consumption. [4]

HISTORY

Through East Frisia, Germany brought the first tea around 1610 from Dutch East India Company. [5] Like many Asian countries, tea was used as medicine in the beginning in Germany. [6] In the 18th century, tea became the best drink in East Frisia. Unfortunately due to popular tea drinking, the state suffered loss from large amount of tea import and taxation, which resulted with the 1777 tea prohibition, under the law of Prussia's King, Frederick the Great. Tea was then damned as “Chinese dragon poison”. [7] Even though the law was abolished 2 years later, it was still difficult to get tea during the Napoleonic Wars and World War II. [8]  Although real tea was scarce, it does not stop tea lovers in East Frisia from making artificial tea flavoring beverage by using herbs. It was not until 1953 that tea tax was reduced and become affordable, in which the East Frisians can once again enjoy real tea without restriction. [9]

INGREDIENTS & PREPARATION

Tea selection is usually a mixture of variety based on Assam black tea, sometimes with Ceylon or Darjeeling tea leaves. The principle of East Frisian Tea is to brew a strong, dark tea with heavy aroma. It is more common to use loose tea leaves (rather constant tea bags) and "Kluntjes," a crystallized rock candy. [10]
The traditional way of making the tea is through three steps without any stirring. First, place the Kluntjes in an empty cup. Then, pour the tea over the Kluntjes. Lastly add a bit of heavy cream gently with a special spoon called “Rohmlepel,” creating a white cream cloud in the middle of the tea. Now, it is ready to be served (even though you are provided with a teaspoon, do not stir!) The concept of this tradition is to able to enjoy the tea in “3-tiers:” the top-layered heavy cream, then the tea, and finally the sweetness from the Kluntjes.[11]

TEA SET & BREWING TOOLS

In the 17th century, porcelain came via the Dutch East Indian Company to Europe. By the beginning of 18th century, German manufacturers found its way to make a similar product themselves. Two particularly popular tea set decoration styles were called: "Blau Dresmer" (a blue colored pattern) and "Rood Dresmer" (the famous, red peony/rose pattern)

A proper tea set consisted of a cream canister, a teapot, and cups. Early sets did not have saucers or handles on the cups. The cups were engraved with ribbed pattern so that tea can cool quicker. There are also specialized teaspoons, cream spoons and sugar tongs. [12] Traditionally Ostfriesentee is served with a small and very thin porcelain teacup.

 "Stövchen," literally mean "little stoves," is specifically designed to heat and hold a teapot or coffeepot with a small flat candle. They are made from clay, porcelain, metal or glass. [12]