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.
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.
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.)