Which great European city is the capital of tea?
Here’s a hint: it’s not located in the UK.
The last gavel came down on the great London tea auction in 1998, ending an unequaled institution that began in 1679. Today the hub of world tea trade has moved east to Hamburg, the new “London” of tea trade.
Why Hamburg? This prosperous Northern Germany city is home to the country’s second largest port which has for centuries welcomed cargo ships loaded with exotic spices and teas from around the world into its bustling river harbor.
Standing on the city pier last week, I witnessed colossal container ships queued for miles as they awaited off-loading by towering cranes lining the docklands. But while all that activity was mesmerizing, I was more interested in the original port of entry located just blocks behind me.