Flavour Journey

written on 01/07/2020
by Jutta Triebe

Ostfriesland - East Frisia: But with cream please...

The world champions of tea consumption do not live in China or Great Britain, but in northwest Germany, in Ostfriesland. Every inhabitant of East Frisia drinks an average of around 300 litres of tea per year. This places the East Frisians at the top of tea consumption worldwide.

Dutch merchants brought tea to Europe in the early 17th century. Soon the East Frisian neighbours also appreciated the drink. Johann Bünting mixed the first real East Frisian tea in his grocery store in Leer in 1806 - and thus laid the foundation for his tea company, which still exists today.

During the Second World War, East Frisians were given tea ration cards in addition to the usual grocery ones. The secret lies in the mixture and the art of East Frisian tea. The tea shop experts try several hundred teas from one harvest. The result is a strong, high yielding tea blend,  mademostly from the Assam, Ceylon, Java and Sumatra varieties.

In order to count as real East Frisian tea, it must have been mixed in the country behind the dikes - otherwise it is just an "East Frisian tea blend". In addition to the special mixture, the soft water of East Frisia contributes to the special aroma.

The tea is enjoyed as a small ceremony in East Frisia. What you need: fine porcelain cups, a cream jug, a special spoon for the cream, the sugar bowl known as "Kluntjepott" with tongs, warmer and teapot.

In 2016, the traditional East Frisian tea ceremony was added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural assets.

You start with the sugar, one large piece of white candy sugar, is put in the cup. 

It takes some dexterity to safely transport the so-called Kluntje from the can to the cup with the customary delicate tongs. The hot tea follows.

The Kluntje should crackle audibly, otherwise the tea was too cold. Please do not fill the cup to the brim. Now what happens is unthinkable for tea drinkers in some parts of the world: using the special cream spoon, East Frisians add a dash of cream to the edge of the cup – pouring it in counter clockwise.

At first the cream sinks into the tea and rises again a little later as "Wulkje". The cream cloud must not be stirred under any circumstances, otherwise the typical variety of flavours would be lost: a triad of mild, cool cream, strong, tart tea and sweet sugar.

There must be at least three cups, then the teaspoon can be used. If it is in the empty cup, this signals: Thank you, I have had enough.

Ingredients: Original East Frisian tea consisting of up to 10 types of black tea.

Quantity: 8-10 g / l

Brewing temperature: 95 C.

Brewing time: 3-5 minutes

If you like to find out more:

Teapedia and Teepod.de are giving you more informations in German

The Eastfrisian Tea Museum

Bünting Tea Museum

Eastfrisian Travel

Click the links to order Büntingtee and Kandis


Fotos:  © ostfriesland.de