East Frisia (Ostfriesen) is a region in the Northwest of Germany. East Frisia connects with the Netherlands.
Most of Germany is a coffee-drinking country, but in this particular region, tea is very popular! East Frisian tea is made from a strong black tea that is sweetened with rock candy and then topped off with real cream.
I had the great privilege of being schooled in this tea method recently from a friend whose sister lives in East Frisia. My friend served tea in delicate blue and white china. This tea is typically served in small cups, which reminded me of espresso cups, as did the tea itself - it is very strong!
To prepare the tea:
1 - Add the rock candy (called Kluntje) to the cup.
2 - Pour the tea. It should be strong and dark. Listen carefully - you will hear the rock candy popping.
3 - Add the cream in clouds, small drops around the edge of the cup. First it looks like this:
And then this:
4 - Look at the lovely design on the surface of the tea, take in the aroma, and savor the flavor.
The combination of rock candy, tea and cream allow for a layered drinking experience, especially if you don't stir the tea. (My friend indicates that East Frisians don't stir.) The first few sips allow the tea and cream to meld, and as you drink more, the sweetness enters.
As an aside, I'd like to point out that the use of cream in tea is unusual. Most tea experts prefer milk in tea, not cream. Cream is too overpowering for most teas. East Frisian tea is an exception! The tea is strong, almost concentrated. My friend said she steeped hers for 8-12 minutes and always keeps it hot on a tea warmer.
East Frisian tea is generally served with cookies or cake.
I am lucky because I have a special tin of tea that came from East Frisia. However, you can find East Frisian tea in the US. Try the Harney & Sons version. I have not tried it, but highly respect the H&S company.
I will share photos early next week from my East Frisian tea this Sunday. I'm very excited!