January's obsession: Tea

Photo by Massimo Rinaldi via Unsplash
Photo by Massimo Rinaldi via Unsplash

January's obsession: Tea

by Mary Del Rosario
Stripes Europe

If you asked me five years ago if I’d care for a cup of tea, I would’ve scrunched my nose up and said: “No, thanks.” Back in the States, I’ve always loved going to Teavana and enjoyed smelling the tea leaves and admiring the cute teapots on display, but I couldn’t ever bring myself to actually enjoy it. It was one of those things that I wanted to love, but I just couldn’t. Now, thanks to many “Kaffee und Kuchen,” coffee and cake dates with German locals, I can proudly say I’m a tea lover.

Tea in Germany (well, Europe for that matter) is big. Not only is it soothing to the soul, but it’s also a way to connect with family and friends by drinking and talking. Personally, I love eating “Marmorkuchen,” or marble cake with a piping hot cup of rooibos tea in my hand.  Aside from the comforting aspect, it’s healthy for you. Germans swear by tea as a remedy for anything. Have a headache? Pregnant? There’s a tea for that.

One of the many reasons why I grew to love tea was its accessibility. There are so many tea shops all around Germany that it’s hard not to be seduced by their charm and aroma. I remember walking into Teehaus Rai, formally known as Teehaus, and instantly falling in love with this quaint store peppered with kitschy decor with a sea of loose, fragrant tea leaves all nicely presented in tin canisters. There were so many flavors, I was completely overwhelmed by my options.  

Germans prefer loose tea as opposed to tea bags, and I can see why. Once you’ve steeped that colorful mix of strawberry and passionfruit tea, the aroma alone will be enough to get you hooked. But, don’t just take my word for it. The next time you head to a city, peek your head in one of the shops and see why I love it so much.

Here are a few words of terminology to remember that might be useful to you when visiting a tea shop:

“Schwarzer Tee” – black tea

“Grüner Tee – green tea

“Rooibos Tee” – rooibos

“Früchtetee” – fruit tea (my personal favorite)

“Kamillentee” – chamomile tea

“Hagebuttentee” – rosehip tea

“Pfefferminztee“ – peppermint tea

“Ingwer“ – ginger

“Zimt“ – cinnamon

“Aromatisiert” – flavored

“Teelöffel” – teaspoon

“Teekanne” – teapot

“Ziehenlassen“ – to steep tea

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