I first discovered the hot drink Heieße Orange at the little bistro just across the street from our tram stop, Cafe Nebanen, where they serve the popular ginger variety of this winter warm up (Ingwer Orange). Served fresh (frisch), with pressed orange juice–heated, slices of orange and ginger and, sometimes, fresh mint leaves, this is a delicious and soothing boost to the immune system (and the ginger version is good for the tummy troubles also).

After my first cup at Nebanen, I immediately started trying to reproduce this hot “tea” at home. It starts with the mug; like cappuccino, this drink is universally served in a wide-mouthed mug, but is always made of glass.

Getting on the Heiße Orange train himself – Jeff did a quick search on Amazon and got us a set of four dainty glass mugs, which we use daily (see photo below).

Preparing this drink itself has become part ritual; the fresh orange slices must be sliced just so; Jeff and I each have a preference for how we like the ginger sliced. Since that first cup at Nebanen we have gotten this drink many places and seen the varieties of ways it can be made–long, planed slices of ginger, or tiny matchsticks? Orange juice or just hot water? Heiße Orange, or Zitrone? Mint, or without? Add a sugar cube, or toss it back straight?

And then there’s the powdered version, packed with added Vitamin C and zinc, which I first discovered when I got a free sample at the pharmacy (Apotheke). These are also delicious and easy–just pour and add water. The sample I first got was Heißer Granatapfel (pomegranate). Now I stock up on these, in all flavors! – and sometimes add them to my fresh version for an extra punch.

The cafe culture here in Düsseldorf is strong, like in other European cities. It’s a common practice to pop into a cafe for a hot drink and a slice of cake – at any time of day! The weather is so mild, you can ever sit outside in the middle on winter, if it’s not too cold and rainy. Blankets are provided! You’ll see these blankets are just left out on the seats, to either use on your bottom or wrap around your shoulders. Lori, I often think of how much you would enjoy sitting in one of these cozy cafes enjoying your coffee and people watching!

I have noticed that eating out in Düsseldorf is very reasonable, price-wise. But drinks are always on the expensive side, or seem expensive to these Americans. Of course if the drink comes with a seat and a view, one expects this to cost more, anywhere in Europe. But in a work-a-day, neighborhood cafe, should I pay €2.50 for a tiny bottle of water (remember: no tap water served!) and €2.50 for some hot water with a tea bag stuck in it, not to mention €3.00 and up for a latte?

Of course, this is what we routinely pay at home at Starbucks and don’t think twice (except for the water part!)

Still, what you’re paying for is time. Time to slow the world down (unlike my last post with frantic video!). You can occupy your table for as long as you want – there’s no pressure to leave even once your cup is empty. We would try to work at some of these places but many do not have wifi, so you’re forced to relax, converse, or read.

Another splash of hot water; another slice of cake? Sure, why not!

2 thoughts on “An Ode to Heiße Orange

  1. I wish I could be with you at a cafe with a latte and cake right now! What a nice thought on a cold winter morning!

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