Posted in Kafevend Blog
Britain and tea go together like bread and butter. Folk all around the world associate the British with a cup of tea. What doesn't leap to mind though is the UK as a tea growing nation. And yet it does happen!
Down in Cornwall not far from Truro lies the Tregothnan Estate, home to the Boscawen family since 1335 and these days also home to a commercial tea plantation. To produce tea you need to grow the Camellia sinensis plant. Ornamental Camellias had been grown on the estate since the early 1800s, alongside a whole host of other introduced plants. Then in 1999 Boscawen's garden director, Jonathan Jones, noticed the early flowering of a type of Magnolia native to the sheltered valleys of the Himalayas. Knowing that tea grows well in the Himalayas, Jones put two and two together and wondered if their own benign micro climate would favour the cultivation of tea.
Experimentation began in 2000 with cuttings and seeds sent over from Darjeeling. Things went well; the climate was indeed perfect - mild and frost free in the winter, cool with plentiful rain and mist in the summer, not dissimilar to that of the Himalayan foothills. The first tea was harvested in 2005 and production has gone from strength to strength ever since, with around 35 blends now available. In a strange twist of fate, they are even exporting their tea to China ( the origin of tea). With some Chinese now interested in the British tea ceremonies of afternoon tea and cream tea, they are happy to pay for authentic English tea to accompany their scones, cream and dainty cakes. Things really have gone full circle in the world of tea.