October 19, 2012

Tea Gschwendner : Ritzy as Its Name!

"Make things happen, explore distant shores, and most of all, drink tea."

With this philosophy,  Albert Gschwendner and his wife Gwendalina turned their dreams of a teashop into a reality in 1978.

And it was this tea shop that I discovered in the middle of a very dull country. Because if there is anything that can bring me joy in Riyadh, is discovering a new cuisine or an exquisite food shop.
Gschwendner was one of them and it is now on my Top list to see and check every time I am in the Kingdom tower doing some shopping.
Gschwendner. Yep, it is German. And I admit that the name is a bit hard to pronounce and actually google later when I wanted to write this post. But this name turned out to be as lavish as the products inside!
The small shop in the kingdom is in the ground floor, and you can see a teapot boiling outside as if greeting you to come inside and explore a new world of Tea leaves. And this is exactly what happened. The teapot was enough to attract me inside and discover this Tea Haven!

Hundreds of Tin drawers with different types of dried  tea leaves from around the world!
And another thing that caught my attention, was a small stand with brochures. There it was the " Book of Tea". I grabbed it. And asked the salesman if I can take it with me. He welcomely acknowledged that and poured some tea for me and my family.

A Book just for Tea from the shop

It was Tea Menthe ( mint), the famous Moroccan tea. A tea with a very fresh aroma that passes directly through your lungs even before you realize, and giving a  bitter and sour taste at the end of each sip.

The types range from the most famous Darjeeling Black leaves, the bold Srilankan Ceylon, Diplomat's Tea, Sencha Japanese leaves, Jasmine leaves, Hawain Flower, dragon fruit, ginger, lemon grass, sleepyhead, mate, sage leaves, herbal spice...etc! 

Know the type of tea and the supposed color to see after steeping

The tea price is not that of your normal tea bags that you usually buy from your supermarket. It is def. not your favorite Lipton flavor nor your Twining's Tea. I am not saying these are bad. But they are different that Gschwendner's tea. 
You can't drink Gschwendner everyday unless you want to pay that much on it ( 40-100 Riyals (10-50 $) for 200 grams only and increases with different types).
So, this product is labeled among the luxurious and chic products. 
But the reason that Gschwendner tea is expensive is it's not mass produced by a factory. It is hand picked first , chosen delicately by Tea experts and then tested, processed and sold.

 They indicate that their tea leaves are organic and fairtrade. This alone explain the price.Gschwendner tea is selling a quality of products and the quality of the people working– the expertise of the Tea buyers, the exacting standards of the laboratory team, and the inspired dedication and passion of  employees and franchise partners.

Tea Farmers ( Taken from Gschwendner tea page)
However, one drawback in this franchise, is that when I asked for white tea and it was out of order, the salesmen didn't try even to introduce me to another type of tea and convince me of buying it. The salesmen do need some training!
So, I made my mind for now to read the book, choose the type of tea and go buy shop some leaves! 
TeaGschwendner has an online teashop)

Did I forget to mention that I have a partner in crime? :) Christele ( a dietician and yoga instructor ) from Health n Horizon tweeted to me that she also loves this shop :)

Whatever the kind or type of tea, tea will remain a timeless tradition, a universal greeting language, an express healer, a leisure drink... It is tea...An inherent joy that everyone agrees on.

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  1. Tea, the best most warming drink of my day :)

  2. Hey Loulwa thanks for the mention:) I was going to ask you the other day where did it open in Lebanon only to see that you were in Riyadh! I tried it in Jeddah and i must say that the salesperson was very knowledgeable and helpful which is extremely rare in KSA! He even gave us a free sample to try at home. Definitely worth the splurge!

    1. Oh interesting!
      I am so glad that it is not open in Lebanon! Lebanese like to make everything mainstream. I guess it is going to be "our" exclusive haven that we can enjoy and tease our friends in Lebanon :P

      Yes I cant deny that the salesmen was very happy and sweet with us!