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I had to include a recipe that felt more like an experience than a simple, traditional tea in my “How the World Drinks Black Tea” episode. This East Frisian black tea is called ostfriesentee. It has three ingredients, but it also tastes different from sip to sip. What I love about this recipe is how you taste each ingredient separately; it really allows you to enjoy each flavor one by one, then together!
This ostfriesentee recipe comes from Zoe in Augsburg in the south of Germany. Made from black tea, rock sugar, and cream, this tea is considered traditional in the northern part of Germany, where Zoe is originally from. Seven museums in North Germany are dedicated to ostfriesentee, indicating the country’s long history and traditions surrounding the tea. There is nothing quite like it in other regions of Germany, and I’ve certainly never had anything like it!
The tea leaves used in ostfriesentee are a special blend of black teas; once they steep in some hot water for a few minutes, more hot water should be added before it finishes steeping. From here, you must add rock sugar to a mug and pour the tea into your mug. The sugar should crackle during this step, so make sure to pour slowly! Each step is crucial to obtaining the three separate sips. Next, you should pour some heavy cream along the rim of the mug into the tea. It will naturally rise from the bottom in small clouds, but do not stir it! Finally, you can sip it.
My first sip tasted like heavy cream; it had a mellow flavor with a hint of bitterness from the black tea. My second sip was mostly bitter, as it was a mouthful of tea. My third sip focused on the rock sugar, which was very sweet. As I continued to drink my ostfriesentee, it evened out to a pleasantly sweet taste all around.
I really enjoyed the experience of drinking ostfriesentee, and I’m sure you will, too! Just remember not to stir it.
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