Shop in Berlin: Paper & Tea

paper and tea in Berlin

After raving about the highly specialized third wave coffee, it’s time to slow down to focus on a similar but different pleasure. Tea enthusiast Jens de Gruyter recently opened his tea business P&T in the quiet part of Charlottenburg’s Bleibtreustraße.
His concept is simple and demure – instead of selling his teas over the counter, leaving the selection mostly to the more or less skilled vendor, who will let you nose into his teas of choice, all teas at P&T are presented in the open as samples for you to see and smell.

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The number of teas in de Gruyter’s selection is quite big, he buys the teas mostly direct from small farms in Kenya, China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan, offering only the best he can find. Growing and harvesting teas is a science in itself, some tea plants can only be harvested once a year, the processing of the leafs will then determine wether it’s a black, green or white tea. The store’s very pure and high class interior allows extensive tea testing, which the staff is happy to invite you to. The ceremony itself is quiet and professional, yet quick – instead of complicated methods that needs expensive equipment, tea, no matter what quality, is easily made – boil water, maybe let it cool down, brew the tea, let it steep, enjoy.

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The selection of tea at P&T is unique in its quality, de Gruyter is eager to emphasize that his concept is not about selling a pretty package with a mediocre tea. Although he knows about the importance of gift giving for his business and also offers very nicely illustrated gift packaging and a selection of hand printed gift cards and notebooks from various printers. (Like Oblation from Portland, with whom I instantly fell in love.)

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Paper & Tea
Bleibtreustrasse 4
10623 Berlin Charlottenburg

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Subway: Savigny Platz
+49 30 95615468
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Opening Hours:
Mo–Sa 11h–20h

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  1. James, überlin on

    Reply

    Hi guys,

    Thanks so much for sharing our response to *that* Exberliner article. It’s great to get feedback from native German speakers, and to find out what locals expect of us pesky expats!

    Love this review, and have to agree – Bully’s Bakery produces the finest Flammkuchen I’ve ever tasted. Here’s what we thought when we first visited: http://www.uberlin.co.uk/bullys-bakery/

    Is it lunchtime yet?

  2. Laura on

    Reply

    I have now spent the past half hour reading all the articles I could find on this topic – and I have to say that although I really do prefer the writing style of Lauren Oyler to the article by Julie Colthorpe, I’m leaning towards the view expressed in the Exberliner article. I get both sides. I have lived in countries where even after a couple of months my knowledge of the langugage was limited to basic conversations in present tense, ordering in bars and asking for directions. But I tried – that’s all anyone should ask and as far as I understand that ‘s all anyone is asking. Berlin is an enclave, yes, but it is Germany, and there are Germans living here that have every right to not speak English without having to apologize for it. Look at Room 77 for example – it’s American style. Of course they speak English with the customers, it’s part of the “experience”. But if my grandmother were to walk in and order in German, she could. I think that’s important. I feel like people are talking about two different things, or actually four different things – learning the basics and actually mastering the langugae are the first two. There’s a big difference and no one is asking for the latter. German is fucking hard, especially learning it in Berlin if you don’t have any sort of personal drive to do it. The second two are those Expats on a sort of prolonged Berlin vacation who are just here for half a year maybe, hang out with just their Expats friends and go to just bars where they’re sure everyone speaks English anyway. And then the ones who work here, live here for years and don’t even understand why they could maybe benefit from learning the language of their city outside of Expatria. In my opinion it has something to do with respect for the people around you (if you’re working, the ones who don’t speak English) and the city that you love, because the atmosphere in Berlin is thanks to both the international people AND the locals. I agree with Mary in that demanding a skill surpassing certain basics is beyond me, but the basics should be a given, and any effort beyond that is welcome.

  3. ellie on

    Reply

    Agreed! Thanks for posting this, especially as I have been trying to learn German for the past 4 months. It is an incredibly difficult language, and unlike the wonderful German school system where everyone gets a basic understanding of English, German is unfortunately not a common language to study in the US. However, I do believe it is an expat’s responsibility to try their best in assimilating with their new country, which includes learning the language! It just takes ein bisschen zeit!

  4. Kajsa on

    Reply

    Had I only been in Berlin………..:) Kreuzberg sounds really interesting.
    Happy Monday xoxo KJ

  5. Tinka on

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    I totally agree. I already feel awkward, when I´m on vacation in some country and I can´t speak the language and am reduced to speaking English. However, I alway, always greet them in their language and then ask if they speak English. I would never go anywhere, English speaking countries excempt, and expect people to speak English. I speak about 7 languages, but non of them fluent or not anymore, for having lived in the US for too long, but it´s enough to get by, have a light conversation, order, ask for direction, etc. And yes, it´s a matter of respect. I visit another country I want to give people a good impression of where I come from and not be labeled as the `dumb American` or `stupid German` whatever. And I expect the same from people living and working here. It is hard, but not that hard. Try Korean or Chinese, that´s much harder.

  6. Tinka on

    Reply

    Thanks for sharing, next time I´m in Neukölln and feel hungry I should try this. There´s a Flammkuchen resto around the corner, I go by there all the time. I guess I should stop and buy one and then see how it tastes. The one´s I tasted in the past weren´t anything to write home about.

  7. Denisa on

    Reply

    That pics are perfect and I would like to go there. I was in some bakery in Berlin.. But not that one. Looks perfect… Have a nice weekend.

    http://www.fashiondenis.com/

  8. Sasha on

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    I was not aware of this whole debate, but thank you for bringing it up. As an expat who lives in Germany (once in Berlin and now in Munich) and who does speak German, this is an issue that I have long thought about, am undoubtedly personally involved in and am still rather on the fence about what I think about it. I know that this is not necessarily the right space to add to the debate, but I just want to make two points. To flip the coin, saying a few words in Germany is vastly different than saying many and there is nothing that makes me feel smaller than when I order something or compose a sentence in perfect German but with an accent to only hear a response in English. I must admit that happens to me regularly in Berlin, but almost never in Hamburg, Munich or Düsseldorf. Someone thinks that they are being polite, but then I interpret them as rude considering how much money I have spent on learning the language. The second point is because of international politics, some people really have to learn German and others do not. As I am not a resident of the EU, I have to go through heaps of paperwork – in German – to live here. Someone who is able to bypass the bureaucracy and just hop on an Easyjet flight can stay in Germany without speaking German indefinitely. Someone who has to regularly fill out paperwork, talk to bureaucrats, and wait for approval, all in German, is less likely able to stay.

    But, most importantly, long live Flammkuchen! I often make a classic version at home with creme fraiche, onions, nutmeg, Speck and then add some thinly sliced pear. I love the idea of blue cheese and will certainly try it with the pear.

    1. Mary Scherpe on

      A very good point! It’s certainly not easy to bring fellow Germans to speak German to you, once they realized everything will be so much quicker when done in English. And I am guilty of that myself. (Sorry Darryl & Florian & everyone else!)

  9. Flo on

    Reply

    Hmm, none of the third wave coffee shops you list is in Neukölln. Am I missing something?

    1. Mary Scherpe on

      it’s true – seems to be a Mitte / Kreuzberg phenomenon… but, suggestions are very welcome!

  10. Thomas on

    Reply

    I’ve just heard the owner of the place offend customers behind their back. I think it’s repulsive so although they have relatively good food, I will never go there again!!!

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