Drinking tea with Maaemo

Maaemo

(We thank our Norwegian partner Oh Yes! Oslo for doing the interview with Maaemo)

When Maaemo chooses which tea to serve, there are literally many cooks in the kitchen who are involved in the process. Everyone is going to have a taste and there are many opinions that account for. That NORD-T makes everything out of Finnish nature, and that Maaemo means "Mother Earth" in Finnish, was just a bonus. “Finnishness” was not a selection criteria.

Jefferson Goldring has been working as a Wine Director at Maaemo since 2016, and in a relatively short period of time, he has got to take part of enormous development. A journey that has resulted in being the first restaurant in the Nordics to be awarded 3 stars in the prestigious Michelin Guide.

The focus on Maaemo has all the way been to create a complete experience by focusing on the relationship between raw nature, raw materials and cultural history. This should be reflected in all food and drink- every guest entering the doors is taken through an extraordinary menu consisting of several unique works of art. Complemented by a carefully curated drinking menu, where the tea serves as an important ending.

We invited ourselves to Maaemo for a never so little tea talk (over a cup of tea, of course).

 
NordT_Maaemo_Ohyes_Holst-10.jpg
 

How important is tea at the end of the meal?

It's easy for many to think that tea is not so terribly important, but something you get as an alternative to coffee at the end of the meal. But what you have to keep in mind, is that this is actually the very last thing we serve after a very long and meaningful meal. The impression tea will leave, will help to color the entire experience. So that tea should be good! says Goldring and laughs.

In fact, it is also incredibly satisfying to round off each journey by offering our guests something that is unique and tastes so good.

One would almost take for granted that a restaurant like Maaemo makes absolutely everything by themselves? You are known to spend time going out to forest to gather your own ingredients?

That's right. When I started here, we actually made our own tea. Or, it was basically a mixture of dried leaves and herbs. We called it "Camping" and served it from a guksi, a cup carved from wood. There was something very theatrical about it. But as with all we serve, there has been a development. And when you find a manufacturer like NORD-T that creates something that is at least as good as one's own and has access to all the best ingredients, the choice is easy.

Today, we also serve tea in a slightly more minimalistic way, where we brew it in a jar and serve it in clear glass so the color is visible to the guest. We also spend some time telling about NORD-T and why they are such a special producer, as well as a little story of the blend our customer has chosen.

Tell me about the process of selecting a supplier like this?

With us, nothing is half-hearted, so everyone is involved. From the chefs in the kitchen, to us who work "Front of House". Chefs often use many of the same ingredients in cooking. At the same time, they also want to take part in choosing what's going to finish the meal they have created. While the rest of the team comes in from a different perspective, with different backgrounds, whether as a sommelier or as a barista. All this contributes in the creative selection processes in an exciting way. We always taste everything. But finally, Esben, the chef, has the last word.

 
 Elisabeth from Oh Yes! Oslo at Maaemo.

Elisabeth from Oh Yes! Oslo at Maaemo.

 

And what was it that made you select NORD-T?

One of the most important criterias is that our suppliers are committed and put their heart in what they do. This will always lead to a better product. We also try as far as it is possible to use manufacturers who are either geographically or at a philosophical level in the north. Here, of course, NORD-T checked all the boxes.

The fact that they never use additives, but rather make the most of pure ingredients in their entirety is something that appeals to us to a great extent. It is the same philosophy we have here at Maaemo. NORD-T also creates unique blends that reflect both a place and a season, just the same as we always do with cooking.

But ultimately, it was the taste that made NORD-T stand out and became a clear choice.

Are you following seasons when it comes to tea, as you are with the food?

Working with seasons is one of the most important things we do, and the most important way for Maaemo has been to reflect a time and place. By working with a manufacturer like NORD-T, we get instant access to lots of delicious raw materials right from nature. Thus, you also have the opportunity to serve tea that contains local seasonal ingredients that we also use in the food. In summer, for example, we find lighter, fruity flavors like strawberries, which are found in the "Afloat with Folkboat", which we have served until now. Whilst we move towards autumn and winter, other types like "Bear Hug" or "Moose on the loose" will eventually become a natural choice with darker notes of cranberries or warming spices.

What about you? Would you prefer a cup of tea, or would you prefer coffee at the end of a meal?

I think that to round a meal with tea is often better than choosing coffee (something that might be more the norm here in Norway - Norwegians love their coffee cup!). Some here will say that my opinion about this is slightly colored, since I am British and love a good cup of tea. But the fact is that the subtle flavor in the tea we serve is perfect for restoring the taste buds for the last little petit fours we serve. Coffee, however, may in many cases be a little dominant taste throughout the experience.

Ultimately, it’s all about the total experience, and what makes it so good is really very simple: lots of passion and heart in when creating something, and a uncompromising focus on the real ingredients from the best pantry of them all: Mother Earth (or Maaemo, in Finnish). This is precisely what makes NORD-T something we can trust to deliver a good closure to a evening here with us.


 
 Tanja, member of Front of House, Maaemo.

Tanja, member of Front of House, Maaemo.

 

And to finish the interview, we also had Tanja, the member of Front of the House, to share her take on tea, inspiration and travel tips:

How do you like your tea? 
This depends a bit on the situation, but I definetely prefer it served amongst good friends. Usually I drink it warm, especially now with the upcoming winter.

What is your favorite NORD-T blend?  
My favorite Nord-T blend is Afloat With Folkboat. This delicate infusion tea with Strawberry, birch leaf, nettle and liquorice root gives a really nice semi-sweet palate together  with vibrant and rich finish. 

What inspires you at the moment?
Long walks out in the nature.  It is something that I have forgotten a bit for many years,  but recently started doing again. Now I continually do every week. There is no better feeling in the morning than crisp and fresh smell of forest. 

Please share your best travel tip to Oslo.
This summer highlight was Gressholmen Island. One of the connected Island in Oslo Fjord. It is a great place for walking, as well as there being small restaurant there where you can get some nice  seafood and a glass of wine. 

While visiting Finland, what would you like to experience?
I would like to experience a proper Sauna experience in Löyly. It would be a great place for a relaxing experience combined with Scandinavian architecture in a unique location.


Thank you Oh Yes! Oslo for doing the interview. And, super duper thanks to Jefferson, Tanja and all the Maaemo team for choosing NORD-T!

Are you following seasons when it comes to tea, as you are with the food?

Working with seasons is one of the most important things we do, and the most important way for Maaemo has been to reflect a time and place. By working with a manufacturer like NORD-T, we get instant access to lots of delicious raw materials right from nature. Thus, you also have the opportunity to serve tea that contains local seasonal ingredients that we also use in the food. In summer, for example, we find lighter, fruity flavors like strawberries, which are found in the "Afloat with Folkboat", which we have served until now. Whilst we move towards autumn and winter, other types like "Bear Hug" or "Moose on the loose" will eventually become a natural choice with darker notes of cranberries or warming spices.

What about you? Would you prefer a cup of tea, or would you prefer coffee at the end of a meal?

I think that to round a meal with tea is often better than choosing coffee (something that might be more the norm here in Norway - Norwegians love their coffee cup!). Some here will say that my opinion about this is slightly colored, since I am British and love a good cup of tea. But the fact is that the subtle flavor in the tea we serve is perfect for restoring the taste buds for the last little petit fours we serve. Coffee, however, may in many cases be a little dominant taste throughout the experience.

Ultimately, it’s all about the total experience, and what makes it so good is really very simple: lots of passion and heart in when creating something, and a uncompromising focus on the real ingredients from the best pantry of them all: Mother Earth (or Maaemo, in Finnish). This is precisely what makes NORD-T something we can trust to deliver a good closure to a evening here with us.

Nina Rantala