One day in Berlin

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Last month I spent a weekend in Berlin to visit some friends and enjoy the city. Berlin is one of my favorite cities in Germany. There are so many things to do and explore and it’s a truly vibrant and inspiring city. What I mostly love doing when being there is to stroll around through some of the neighborhoods like Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and check out little unique cafés and stores. I really do not get tired of doing that and would like to share some of those discoveries with you.

Neighborhood Wedding – maybe not the most popular neighborhood yet, but it’s getting more and more popular these days. There is this café called „Göttlich“ which not only has great coffee and antipasti, but is also a more relaxing place compared to the busy ones in Prenzlauer Berg. The staff is very friendly and the people going there are not as much „hippster-crazy“ as in other parts of the city.

Neighborhood Kreuzberg – in case it is your first time in this area and you haven’t had breakfast or lunch yet, go and explore the „Marheineke Markthalle“ which is a nice and smaller market hall where you can find all different kinds of food. In addition, the vegan supermarket chain „Veganz“ has a shop on the first floor.

Chapter One is a very popular coffee place which is more focused in the newer trend of Third Wave coffee than on Italian style espresso. Really worth to have a sip while being in Kreuzberg! And it is located very close to the market hall and the Marheinekeplatz.

If you then still feel like going shopping for a little bit, take the road „Bergmannstrasse“ to check out some small shops there. There you can also find a nice shop for organic cosmetics called „Bella Donna“ which offers a wide range of organic brands such as Oliveda, Martina Gebhardt, Dr. Hauschka, Bioturm and khadi.

Another day in Hamburg – Karolinenviertel

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Another day in Hamburg! Since my last trip to Hamburg only 4 weeks ago, one main thing has changed – the weather! It’s much colder now, but this gave me some more time  to explore the great insides of some cafés, shops and restaurants. 

Karolinenviertel district –

Cafe and Bistro „Zwanzig“ where Swiss foodies meet great coffee. A small cosy Café on just 20 qm2 filled with great cakes, snacks and wonderful coffee.

Cafe Zwanzig

Green fashion at „glore“ – great green fashion in the store and online

Some more great fashion (not green this time though) you can find at the store and under the brand name „goldmarie„. The pieces are created  which by a local Hamburg designer Marie Richers. Besides their own line, the store also offers some other fashion brands (e.g. Drykorn). The designs are very clean, chic and mainly kept in white, grey, beige and black colors. You can also shop her pieces at the online shop.

After all the shopping, you might be really hungry! In that case I can really recommend the Vietnamese restaurant „Xeôm“ for either lunch or dinner. The food is really great and the spot is packed with young people and a quick and very friendly staff. I can’t wait to come back again!

Tea Tasting No. 9

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Tea type: green tea

Tea name: Kukicha

Origin: Japan

Harvest: 2016

Bought: through Tomotcha monthly tea subscription 

Impression: this tea has a very smooth taste which I can best describe as freshly baked cookies coming out of the oven. This is really the association I had when I had my first sip. The tea is stronger in flavor than a sencha tea and does contain a slightly stronger astringency. I can recommend up to three steepings, although the first two are the best ones. Water should be around 60-70 C, not higher.

Organic skin care „Pure Elements“ 

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Normally my blog is mainly on tea and travels, but I have to admit that I have one further weakness which is skin care and even more so, natural and organic skin care.

I have these all-time favorites, but I also really love to try new brands, especially as so many great ones have been created in recent years.

Therefore, I wanted to share with you my latest discovery which I love so much that it already became part of my essential skin care routine.

Last weekend I went to my parents‘ house. It’s located in the middle of Germany, but also in the middle of the countryside. The next highways are half an hour drive away and the surroundings are captured by hills, mountains and lakes. It’s actually a really beautiful area. However, do not expect any vibrant cities close by. However, every time I go there, I always try to leave enough time to go to the local drug store called „Müller“. It’s a German drug store chain with stores all over Germany. The reason why I like to go to that particular drug store in the little town of Korbach is because they have a huge selection of organic cosmetic brands. Just to name a few: Ahava, Annemarie Börlind, Primavera, alva, Burt’s Bees, farfalla, lavera, i+m, Korres, Living Nature, John master’s organic, Melvita, Oliveda, etc. And last but not least and brand new in their product range is the brand called pure elements.

I was looking for a skin care that nourishes my skin, gives it enough moisture and at the same time takes care of the first fine lines which I cannot deny anymore with being in my mid-30s and jumping on airplanes so frequently.

The shopping assistant at the drug store was really knowledgable in the field of natural cosmetics and recommended me to try the pure elements series. 

Pure elements is a German cosmetic brand, which was recently founded and combines western natural cosmetics, Asian philosophy and knowledge according to Feng Shui. Imgredients as frangipani, tomato, mango butter in combination with different essential oils and mountain crystals energized by the sunlight are supposed to give harmony to the soul, body and therefore to the skin.

I was sceptical and curious at the same time. But once I tried this cosmetic line, I was hooked! I currently use three of their products: „Energie“Frangipani face toner, „Anti Age“ Hyaluron serum with lotus extract „Energie“ facial day cream with tomato extract. I have been using it for three weeks now and my skin really does look much more nourished, glowy and really more healthy. 

Tea Tasting No. 8

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Tea type: Black Tea
Tea name: Nepal black tea
Bought at: David’s Tea, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Water Tower Place, Chicago/USA

Impressions: very smooth, slightly sweet flavor with a hint of malty aroma. I would recommend not more than 2 steepings, using hot water (95°C). This is currently one of my favorite black teas, as it is so smooth in taste with only very little astringent flavor. On the website of David’s Tea, they describe this tea as follows: „From the first sip you’ll notice its rich, sweet, honey-like flavour. What doesn’t come through in the cup is how much good this little tea garden does. They’ve set up a ton of amazing community programs to benefit local schools, underprivileged families, and the elderly.“

I really like that this tea not only taste great but also does great things for the community in Nepal.

Black Nepal Tea

A day in Hamburg

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Two weeks ago I spent a couple of days in Hamburg. Although I have never been a huge fan of the city – who knows for which reason – I really loved the days I spent there. It was such a nice trip and in addition, the weather was just amazing. I found some cool spots and places and had a great time exploring the city.

Where I stayed: Schanzenviertel through airbnb. I can highly recommend to stay in this area if you are looking for a vibrant neighborhood with lots of nice cafés, bars, individual little shops and conveniently located when going for further sightseeing in Hamburg. 

Coffee places I liked: Nord Coast Coffee Roastery is located at the Speicherstadt and the barista was super helpful when I had to choose between the different coffee varieties they offer. The café less political is much smaller and a cosy little place for coffee in a more quiet area in the Schanzenviertel. Both cafés offer a great space for sitting outside to relax and enjoy the sun. If you are as lucky enough to get some!

Nord Coast Coffee

Nord Coast Coffee


less political coffee shop

Food I liked: Bok Restaurant is an Asian style restaurant which only uses fresh ingredients and without using any glutamates. They have several locations througout Hamburg, but two already at the Schanzenviertel. I went there twice while I was there because I really liked it! You can also get the food to go if you want.
The shop I liked most: Amara Ajai – a cute little shop with unique pieces. You can find everything from jewellery to fashion and home deco. I found this wonderful and unique watch from the German brand called Kerbholz which creates high quality watches made out of wood.

my newly bought watch from Kerbholz

China travels – August 2016

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I just came back from two weeks of business travel in China. This time, our schedule was super tide and I still felt the jetlag from my previous trip to Chicago for a little while.

So after hitting the Qingdao Beer Festival (the little brother of the German Oktoberfest!) right after my arrival, I was ready to appreciate the few quiet moments and quiet places which we discovered along our trip through China.

Tiny breakfast place in Qingdao

Bayannoer Hotel in Inner Mongolia

After a few days in Qingdao, we traveled through Shandong province before going to the Gansu province and to Inner Mongolia.

And visiting the fields and the countryside is always a very great way for me personally to get an authentic and true feeling of a country or an area I’m visiting.

Tea Tasting No. 7

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Tea Type: green tea
Tea name: Long Jing
Origin: China, Shi Feng, Xi Hu
Harvest: early spring 2016

Bought at: Tea Drunk, New York City

First impressions: As I mostly do not like Chinese green teas too strong, I prefer to infuse them for only about 1-2 minutes. This way, the tea has a mild and slightly sweet flavor with a hint of a roasty note. I can recommend up to three infusions. 

Overall, I would say it is a nice everyday tea. However, for the price I paid for it, I really expected something a bit more extraodinary. Although Long Jing tea is a very common tea in China, they can still be big difference in quality.

Price: 11 USD for one sample which is enough for one serving only and 43 USD for 28 grams. Also available through their online shop.

One day in Chicago

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It’s August and I have been really busy traveling. 

Three weeks ago, I traveled to Chicago for business to attend the IFT fair. It was actually my first time in Chicago and I was lucky enough to have a full day of leasure time and was able to discover some nice parts of the city. Surely, I have to come back once again to further discover this nice city. 

For now, have a look at my favorite pic(k)s!

I started the morning at one of the Lake Michigan city beaches

Went shopping on Michigan Avenue (also known as the Magnificent Mile) and discovered shops as the „Space519“ for unique fashion and beauty (e.g. beauty brand rms)

Enjoyed some fresh fruits at the Farmers Market, close to Michigan Avenue and open every Tuesday.

Was lucky enough to be invited to the „Chicago Yacht Club“, enjoyed some cocktails and a great sunset.

Tea Tasting No. 6

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Tea type: herbal tea

Tea name: Mulberry Leaf Tea (organic)

Origin: Kagoshima/ Japan

Bought at: The Bellocq Atelier (their tea no. 28)

Impression: Athough this is a herbal tea, you could almost believe it to be some kind of green tea. The flavor and aroma is floral and very light with a hint of a grassy note. Water for infusion should not be hotter than 80 degrees Celsius. This is a great green tea alternative for your evenings in case you are sensitive to caffeine.

Also read the article by T. Ching on mulberry leaf tea on his blog.

first infusion