For over 300 years, the East Frisian region in Lower Saxony, Germany has been known for its tea drinking culture. Even today, the practice remains a significant part of East Frisian cultural heritage. This distinct tea culture is evident in the East Frisian tea ceremony, a ritualized way of serving and enjoying tea.
The East Frisian Tea Ceremony
To prepare East Frisian tea, loose tea leaves are poured into a cup on top of a piece of rock sugar, known as “Kluntje”. Next, a small amount of cream is added to the tea at the edge of the cup, which slowly sinks to the bottom and then rises again, producing a cloud-like structure called “Wulkje”. The tea is not stirred, so with each sip, a different taste experience is encountered, beginning with the mild cream, followed by the strong tea, and finishing with the sweetness of the rock sugar.
The Importance of Tea Culture in Eastern Friesland
In Eastern Friesland, drinking tea is a regular and passionately followed practice that structures the day and affects both family and professional life. The tea culture is passed down through generations within families, as the preference for a particular tea mixture is often inherited.
Tea and East Frisian Material Culture
The tea culture has influenced East Frisian language and material culture. Many idioms and expressions in Low German relate to tea, and the tea is served in typical East Frisian tea dishes decorated with roses, known as the “East Frisian Rose.”
The Real East Frisian Mixture
The tea itself is also a specialty of Eastern Friesland, known as the “real East Frisian mixture.” This strong black tea blend consists mainly of Assam teas and can only be called “real” when mixed in Eastern Friesland. Due to the region’s long tradition of tea drinking and high consumption, there are still several tea companies in the area today.