So you’re a tea lover and you’re planning to go to the Netherlands. How to survive in a country full of low-quality coffee-zombies? Here is a 3-day trip through Holland, the Tea Leafster way!
Day 1 – Amsterdam
At your day of arrival in Amsterdam, your first stop will be Formocha (Eerste Looiersdwarsstraat 28) to spend your full weekend budget straight away on freshly brought in high quality green teas and oolongs or, if you’re a Puhead and you’re willing to spend, a great range of Pu’er cakes. Unfortunately Formocha stopt serving in the shop (they had a small corner for drinking tea) because it was too busy, but don’t miss this place because the teas are truly wonderful and often, while sniffing the teas, you’ll be served a cup anyway. The owner Amanda was appointed as European ambassador on Pu’er by the government of the Xishuangbanna prefecture in 2012 and is highly rated among food & drink critics in Amsterdam, so if you’re really serious about Pu’er and you want to see the high quality stuff, it’s probably better to reach out to her before you visit so you can have a look at the collection.
Your day will be continued with a visit to the Anne Frank House, but o, the waiting time in the queue is 2,5 hours! So you wisely turn around, go to the Rijksmuseum to elbow your way for (a kind of) clear view on De Nachtwacht, and then you do what’s best for you and hurry yourself to Tea’s Delight at Kinkerstraat 58 for a long tea session with the very passionate owners Hong Tong and Yiemie Wu, who travel the lands of tea on a yearly base to serve and sell you the best teas around. They are constantly looking for, I quote, that little bit of extra in a tea. Expect a great range of top quality oolongs, red teas, Pu’er and Japanese & Chinese green teas, including the ‘Meizhou Spring’ from their family’s hometown. Top that off with Matcha-pancakes, Matcha-ice cream (in summer) and sesame-dates energy bombs and you’ll be sure to have a great afternoon.
Day 2 – Haarlem
Time for a daytrip away from Amsterdam! Take the 20 minute-train to the neighbouring city of Haarlem and wonder around the beautiful city centre with lots of artisanal and specialty shops. Buy some delicious Dutch cheese at the cute little cheeseshops and some bread from one the many local bakeries for a picknick along the canal, but save a little room in that tummy for the next stop! By this time you’re craving for tea and, hey, what a coincidence, Cups and Leafs is in Haarlem! Served in Dutch style (big glass mugs) but high quality tea and many, many snacks, a lunchmenu and dim sum too choose from. If you’re short on time skip the cheese specialty shops and pair your Cups and Leafs Pu’er or Oolong with a cheese platter.
Day 3 – Delft/Rotterdam
Another daytrip but this time a little bit further from Amsterdam. First stop: Delft! Historical city of famous painters and the place where Willem de Zwijger was murdered. Now a city of canals, churches, old buildings, alleyways, nice little shops AND Thee van Sander. A great place for Chinese green teas. Take part in a 5 euro tea tasting on Saturday, book one of the workshops ahead of your visit, or just walk in between opening hours on Thursday, Friday or Saturday for a good conversation and a range of Chinese teas to choose from.
Hungry now are you? Ignore the Dutch fries (best in the world but y’all know that) on your way back to the station (we don’t want to ruin your tasting palette with too much salt) and hop on the train to close-by Rotterdam for a visit to Het Zesde Geluk, a cooking studio and teashop in one. Choose between a Chinese tea workshop, a chocolate & tea workshop or do what me and my girlfriend did and go for the ‘Cooking with tea & Chinese tea workshop’. You’re going to cook (and eat!!!) incredibly delicious Chinese food with tea and you’ll finish up with a tea tasting. By this time you’re so full of tea and food that the only thing you can don is roll back to the airport, take a rest back home and dream of your next trip to the Netherlands.
Optional: add a fourth day to your trip by contacting Tea Leafster and ask if I have any time to host a little tea session for you. I’ll be glad to welcome you in my home to ‘teageek’ together while sipping on one of the teas from my personal collection!