Lola A. Åkerström spotlights some of the best tea shops in Stockholm.
I don’t drink coffee.
Now, living in one of the world’s top coffee consuming cities per capita, that admission might as well be blasphemy. I’m usually that one guest out of ten asking the dinner host (in a low “errrr, tea please” voice) for that single cup of tea.
While Stockholm is littered with hundreds of cafés where you can observe the social institution of fika – socializing over coffee with sweet buns – and where, yes, you can order a cup of tea, there are a handful of artisan and specialty tea shops in Stockholm to explore if you’re an avid tea drinker.
From tea houses making special blends to cafés which serve traditional English tea, Stockholm’s tea culture is arguably as strong as its coffee culture.
Ironically, I was turned on to one such tea shop by my sister who happened to be visiting me in town one summer. She grabbed a tea canister at the airport gift shop, promptly consumed it within a month, and was hooked on that particular blend – Söderblandning by The Tea Centre of Stockholm.
So off I went in search of the boutique tea shop to buy replacement bags of tea for her. Upon entering the shop, I was visually transported back to the 19th and 20th centuries. Tin canisters lined the walls, clay and porcelain kettles alongside jars of honey. Dark mahogany wood finishing with glass details that make you feel like you’d walked into a turn-of-the-century pharmacy where medicine was mixed in glass canisters. Complete with a knowledgeable attendant wearing an apron.
Except in this shop, blends of classic teas were being mixed and created in an environment with ambiance reminiscent of the old world.
Located on Hornsgatan on the island of Södermalm, The Tea Centre of Stockholm is the first retail outlet of East West Company Scandinavia AB (EWC) and was founded in 1979 by Sri Lankan born Vernon Mauris, a tea expert, gourmet and author .
“It is an old-world, homely shop, where only one product is for sale – tea (Camellia Sinensis).”
So in essence, it does one thing and one thing exceptionally well. The Tea Centre stocks various flavors and blends of tea by country of origin – from green, black, and oolong tea to puerh, flavored, and flower teas.
It is most known for its golden tea blends which are:
- Tea Centre Blend (BOP) – This is owner Vernon Mauris’s first blend which consists purely of Ceylon teas, as a tribute to Sri Lanka.
- Söderblandning – “The Blend of South Stockholm” which is its most popular flavor and has been produced since its inception in 1979 is an infusion of fruit and flower flavors.
- Grön söderblandning – This version infuses Chinese Sencha with tropical fruits and flowers.
- Earl Grey Special – Their own twist on the classic English Earl Grey tea flavored with bergamot from Sicily and citrus fruits.
- Sir John Blend – This blends high-quality Taiwanes Lapsang Souchong teas for a strong smoky flavor.
- Spice Blend – As its name suggests, this is a strong aromatic tea which blends Indian spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and cloves, with rose-hip.
It also sells a special 2015 limited edition First Flush Darjeeling white tea called Singbulli Emperor. The Tea Centre runs in-person tea tutorials that teach you the art of making and tasting tea. Its instructive courses teach everything from preparation to appearance, fragrance and taste to help deepen your knowledge about different brews.
This certainly isn’t the only high quality tea shop in Stockholm and there are several others (listed below). Maybe my aversion towards coffee might change in the near future, but with several tea shops in Stockholm selling high quality blends, I highly doubt it.
Here are some tea houses and tea shops in Stockholm worth checking out:
The Tea Centre of Stockholm
Located on Hornsgatan on the island of Södermalm, The Tea Centre of Stockholm was founded in 1979 by Sri Lankan born Vernon Mauris and is one of the most popular tea shops in town. Its ambiance alone is worth checking out.
Grace Tea House
Chinese tea ceremony master, Grace Guo, founded Grace Tea House in 2006, and the tea house actively works on sharing Chinese tea tradition and culture with fellow tea lovers.
Tea House Chaikhana
Chaikhana offers a wide selection of tea blends in a 20th century style colonial atmosphere. Its name “Chaikhana” means tea house which was a common place of rest along the legendary Silk Road pilgrimage linking China to the Middle East and Europe.
Stockholm Tea & Garden
Stockholm Tea & Garden is both a store which sells tea and a café which serves classic English Afternoon Tea with décor inspired by Great Britain. According to the Garden, the idea is to offer an inspiring and harmonious environment with ideas for the home but also a place where you can sit down in peace and quiet and enjoy both homemade scones and beautiful decor.
Charabang Kaffe & Te
TeBoden Charabang Trading Company AB is a family business founded in 1956 by Erik Jarnebäck. Today the company is run by his wife Siv along with daughters Molly and Lina. Some of their most popular teas is the Gota Canal Original, City tea, Sencha Lime, Japanese Garden, Kalahari Rooibos and Rooibos Cranberry Lime.
In the Mood for Tea
In the Mood for Tea is run by couple Jonas Almberg and Sofia Roger. They follow in Jonas great-great grandfather’s footsteps – a traveling tea merchant at the end of the Qing Dynasty. Jonas, whose mother is Chinese, was born in Hong Kong and they focus on bringing high-quality Asian teas (particularly from China) such as green tea, white tea, oolong tea, black tea, jasmine tea, yellow tea and puerh tea from selected farms.
Himalaya Te & Kaffe
Himalayan Tea & Coffee Specialist AB was founded in the 1980s by Hamdi Shalabi. A decade later, in 1997, the shop was bought by Hamdi’s brother-in-laws- Mats and Anders Nyström. In 2009, Michaela Johansson-Knutas took over and they sell a selection of organic tea blends such as Japanese Yuko tea, Masala Chai and Darjeeling from India, and South African rooibos tea.
Established in 1932 and first operating under the name Java Imports, this family-run tea business that has passed through generations has three tea shops in Stockholm and sells a wide selection of specialty teas and accessories including its popular “Lundablandning” tea blend.
Ever since Testugan opened on Odengatan 75 (operating under the name Tekulan at that time), it sold classic teas from the island of Gotland off Sweden’s southeast coast. Today, it sells the widest range of Kränku tea in Stockholm. Its Guteblandning tea with flavors of anise and citrus is a famous tea blend, and was created in 1978 by a small tea shop, Kränku, in the town of Visby on Gotland.
Sibyllans Kaffe & Tehandel
Founded in 1916, this family-run tea shop sells an assortment of tea – from green, black, and red to herb, fruit, and oolong, alongside chocolate, biscuits and other tea accessory products.