I first “e-met” (past tense of e-meet) slow-traveller Sean when he wrote this post and connected it to my write-up on this beloved Berlin summer tradition. A few days ago I had tea and cakes with Sean and his partner Mufidah at a delightful little cake shop called Frau Behrens.
Their cakes are light and not too sweet. You order your cake at the counter and let the staff know where you are seated. There are so many choices and by 3pm when we met, many of the cakes were on their last slices. Since it’s summer there were many tart cakes piled up with seasonal berries and fruits. Just check out Seans berry-topped slice. Tea is then ordered at the table from the wait staff.
Being a chocolate-lover, I picked the Chocolate cake which was a huge slice with layers upon layers of light chocolate mousse and airy sponge cake.
Mint Tea and Bio (organic) Lemon Ginger Tea accompanied the cakes. For the tea, they serve each with a cute 5 minute timer, and cups to place the strained tea leaves. This is always a good sign. They know how to take their tea. I am definitely taking TD to Frau Behrens.
DIPLO TIP: As a rule, I always follow steeping time indicated in the packaging of tea. Once steeping time is done, remove the tea leaves from the pot or cup, and enjoy the tea flavor at it’s best. Never leave tea leaves inside or it will become bitter (or sour for berry flavoured tea). It’s a pet peeve of mine when I go to an upscale place and they give me a pot of tea, without telling me how long the tea should steep or providing me with a container to rest the tea strainer afterwards. I feel for the price they are charging, they should at least know their teas.
Generally, black teas usually steep for only 2-3 minutes, while flavored or herbal teas can go for 3-5 minutes and my favourite genmaicha (japanese roasted rice tea or popcorn tea) is only 30 seconds. It’s always better to check the packaging to enjoy the best possible flavour.
Lovely tea was accompanied by even lovelier company. “Slow-travelling” nomads, Sean and Mufidah, have a gift for story-telling and photography, which you can tell from their respective personal blogs and Instagram accounts here and here.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods
I loved reading about Sean’s Summer in Berlin and Beyond because reading about another expat’s experience of falling in love with Berlin echoes and reflects how hard I’ve utterly and helplessly fallen for Berlin. From Sean’s stories I get the sense that a single day in their lives seems to be more adventure than many normal folks ever experience… well… in a long time. It takes such spirit, openness, courage and resolve to suck out the marrow of life like Sean and Mufidah do and I am so thankful to have met them. Though our lives are vastly different in a way, I feel kindred to them, being part of the global tribe of nomads called expats. Their brand of slow travelling is just different from mine and TD’s…. So different, yet also the same.
I figure places are like people. Take the time to form deep connections and they’ll forever be a part of you. Even if you never have the opportunity to meet again.
Thanks for introducing me to Frau Behrens, Sean and Mufidah! I am so happy that I’ve found another place for good cakes aside from my favourite my favorite cake in Berlin. The waitstaff are a bit abrupt and no-nonsense, but I can see why when between the two of them they manage such a busy little spot. And like many Deutsch, once you talk to them and smile at them they are quite nice.
Image without watermark is credited to One Foot in Berlin