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Paper and Tea, Berlin, Germany

Paper and Tea’s founder, Jens de Gruyter and his team, have made it their mission to make fine teas and tea culture more accessible and rewarding to a broader audience. Departure point of this vocation is the brand’s homebase on Bleibtreustrasse in Berlin, Charlottenburg. Nothing like a conventional tea shop, Paper and Tea’s store breaks with the traditional apothecary-like over-the-counter model, which assigns sole authority to the tea vendor and leaves the customer largely dependent on their service and advice. Instead, Paper and Tea’s original presentation system encourages self-directed discovery, accessible information, immediate sensory experience and dialogue, in order to make the familiarisation with its offering of fine orthodox teas an altogether more rewarding experience. To this end, the store’s interior, designed in co-operation with product designer Fabian von Ferrari, resembles a clever mix of aesthetically purist concept store and natural history museum, through which customers can navigate freely according to their individual needs.

On free-standing presentation cubes outfitted with sliding drawers, the individual teas are displayed in a practical fashion with accompanying information, logically organised according to their degree of oxidation – from white, to green, yellow, oolong, black, and pu’erh, a specialty of Chinese tea culture that remains virtually unknown to most Europeans. Customers are invited to smell the individual teas on display, read about their origins, production processes and their tasting characteristics or sample a particular tea, expertly brewed and served by a Paper and Tea ‘teaist’ at one of the tea tasting stations in the Chinese and Taiwanese style of Gong-Fu. Once a favourite has been identified, all teas are available to buy in three different sizes of convenient resealable vacuum packs.

Paper and Tea’s approach extends beyond the actual store. An adjacent space hosts regular tea seminars and specialised tea tastings. A mobile tea bar at public events such as Berlin’s art event abc art berlin contemporary or the Premium fashion trade fair is part of a flexible tea catering service. And the brand’s online shop elegantly presents the fine teas and accessories on offer, supported by interesting and useful information.

Artisans
Jens de Gruyter, Founder
Website