Ahh, Gemütlichkeit. Cosiness – a holy state of being for the Germans, especially in the sometimes inhumanely cruel atmosphere of Berlin in Winter.
One haven of tranquility can be found in Prenzlberg’s Bötzowviertel. Here, you can comfortably rest your trendy Bordeaux-colored faux-leather-vintage boots under granny’s Spitzendecke, while listening to contemporary chamber songs (in Russian, English or German), field recordings from India, or Lithuanian fairy tales. Enjoy a cup of Tschai-kowsky’ (tschai = tea in Russian) – Egor Sviridenko, can’t get enough of a joke that dates back to his childhood days in Belarus.
The shop is the result of a happy encounter between Sviridenko, who dreamt of importing the tea culture he saw in Southern France’s Arabic tearooms, and Russian Arseny Zinogradov, who was looking to open an art gallery. Tschaikowsky offers 140 teas, which are served at precisely the right temperature, with the exact amount of necessary tea leaves and in an appropriately styled tea pot (€3.50). You can also become a ‘bookcrosser’ here, part of a free online book club with 655,000 members and over 4,600,000 registered books, that sort of works like an international freebie-library. If you’re more into stimulating your visual intellect, the tiny tea lounge also features art exhibitions. Watch the rain through the window, sip your Golden Puerh, enjoy.