Tag Archives: british tea culture

No … tea … ?? – Life in Germany

Forget whisky; THIS is the water of life!

This morning at breakfast, a remarkable thing happened that I could not imagine happening in a British dining hall — probably not even a Canadian one.

They ran out of black tea.

And this wasn’t the first time this week when the black tea ran out at breakfast; we faced the same dire situation two days ago, and both times I was too late to get any. Two days ago I watched in sorrow as the girl before me took the last tea bag.

What sorrow!

Now, they nevertheless had the sort of thing people are prone to call tea. There was rooibos, there was camomile, there was some fruity thing. Indeed, there were six or seven boxes of available infusions.

But no black tea!

This is life in Germany. Where I took my German course upon first arriving, there was free tea and coffee for before class and at the break. Five boxes of herbal infusions. One box of black tea. Sometimes there was green tea. Which is, of course, tea. But I’m fond of black tea, the sort of tea Britain got itself addicted to in the 1800s.

It just isn’t really that German a thing, I guess. Although they’d better adjusted my cousin’s workplace for all the Brits and Americans, because one day when I was there, they’d run out of black tea. Perhaps Germany is slowly getting addicted.

But overall, they seem to prefer their fruity things and their camomile or peppermint or other flowers and leaves that quite simply do not come from Camellia sinensis. And I like my fermented, dried, black leaves from Camellia sinensis so very much.

Like Paris, though, Germany does come equipped with specialty tea stores. Unlike Paris, they are stocked almost entirely with these herbal unteas. This is a shame, especially since what black tea they do have comes in maybe three or four varieties (Darjeeling, Assam, Earl Grey, and one more for fun!), none of which has the whimsy or sense of adventure and class of what you can find at Kusmi or Mariage Frères in Paris. And all of which are several times the price of what I could get it for in Edinburgh.

Thankfully, though, the supermarkets sell real tea, in bags and looseleaf, at reasonable prices. I have had no failures such as the soap-flavoured Earl Grey of Paris to grace this trip to the continent!

Hm … now I want a cup of my Darjeeling …

For my tea adventures in Paris, read here!