The Quintessential Tea Room
Expecting Danes to be more ‘cool coffee crowd’ than devoted tea drinkers, I’m surprised to find that they take the gong for the oldest tea shop in Europe. On a recent visit, the locals seemed to be all out drinking in the spring sunshine, while I was drinking up their tea at the A.C. Perche Tea Room. Tucked away in a quieter street a few blocks from Strøget, Copenhagen’s popular shopping strip, the A.C. Perche Thehandel (tea shop) is undoubtedly a Danish institution.
As far back as 1835, Niels Brock Perch threw open the doors to his tea emporium, continuing for three generations before handing over the reins to the Hincheldey family for the next four. The addition of a tea room on the second floor just eight years ago gives tea drinkers the opportunity to sample and linger. Locating the entrance is not easy and gives the impression that you’re about to enter a secret tea drinker’s society. It’s elegant and welcoming, a cosy place to hole up in during Denmark’s chillier months or in my case, have the place to myself in the fine weather.
I’m gobsmacked by the large selection of tea (150+), the most extensive I have come across since the T2 Teahouse. I hang out at the ‘tea bar’ sniffing canisters of fragrant tea leaves and finally narrow it down to a few. I choose the White Temple Tea, a soft white tea infused with mango, papaya, orange, strawberry and pineapple pieces, but am finding it tough not to want more. “It’s quiet today,” the tea specialist whispers and goes on to offer me two pots for the price of one, recommending the Gyokuro Furoumon Japanese Green that’s priced at about AUD$45 for 100 grams, one of the most expensive teas available as most cost under AUD$10.
I must admit that I’m a self-confessed Devonshire Tea addict, having posted almost 300 reviews on my blog, so it goes without saying that I try the Danish take on a Devonshire Tea, the Ferdinands Fryd, translated to Ferdinands Delight. My order arrives served on Royal Copenhagen porcelain dinnerware, naturally, and I’m guessing Ferdinand’s rich tastebuds preferred his scones the Danish way: crisp, buttery and served with whipped cream, jam and lemon butter. The lemon butter has me baffled, but I’m assured that it’s commonly served with English cream teas. At this stage I’m too content to disagree.
Teas are brewed with much fan-fare, with timers, pots and strainers, tea leaves and hot water to make the perfectly brewed cuppa. A pot of tea in the tea room doesn’t come cheap, a whopping 85kr (AUD$17), so it’s best to do as I did, and leave armed with a years’ supply of tea.
Denmark – 2013