Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Moment for Scottish Tea Growers

My mother being a Cunningham, I can't help but love all things Scottish. So when I heard that there was to be a gathering of Scottish Tea Growers, I was more than happy to share the news!

Scottish Tea Plantation. Photo courtesy of Wee Tea Plantation

Scotland’s Growing Wee Tea Gardens
Perthshire tea plantation has helped create ten more in Scotland due to high demand for iconic hotels!

A newly formed Scottish TeaGrowers’ Association has staged its first AGM on November 20, 2015 with the country now boasting ten gardens growing to the tipple. Wee Tea Plantation owner Tam O’Braan has been working alongside others in all corners of Scotland to develop a double figured number of growers.

Tea Garden on the roof of The Dorchester.
Photo courtesy of Wee Tea Plantation
Some of the gardens are already attracting elite customers such as The Dorchester hotel in Mayfair who were so inspired they installed their own roof top tea garden while serving Dumfries & Galloway’s own grey tea- Garrocher Grey. Garrocher Tea Garden owner Angela Hurrell went down to close an exclusive agreement with the iconic London hotel.

I have to admit I have never ordered Afternoon Tea before and The Dorchester Hotel gave me the confidence of knowing that with our tea every possible modern convenience was at hand but still there was time to rest and enjoy in very comfortable surroundings”

Terraced Tea Garden. Photo courtesy of Wee Tea Plantation
O’Braan stated that “It’s been our stated aim to grow an industry, not just one business and
while most of the members won’t have a commercial quantity until 2018 they’ve taken the first steps to grow a new drinks industry”. While traditionally no one would have considered Scotland a natural location the variety of tea plant used by all the Scottish growers (Cameliia sinensis sinensis) stems from the Himalayas already grows at minus 15 degrees centigrade.

Due to the slower growth of the Scottish leaf all of the resulting teas develop superior flavours. “A happy coincidence as to make this sustainable we have only supplied teas of the highest quality commanding a premium price. If one’s supplying The Dorchester then it’s no surprise when a call comes in from the Rtiz or one of their many comparable global rivals.

Turning down Harrods the prestigious retailer Fortnum & Mason were preferred by Dalreoch to launch Scottish teas in 2014 and were followed this year by their rivals Mariage Frères- the premium Salon du Thé au Paris. The Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh was the first hotel in Scotland to serve the tea early in 2015. All of those names and the many more +5 Star establishments are queuing up to work with the other Scottish Gardens in the coming years.

Scottish Tea Growers
Agronomist Tam O’Braan has worked in crop research in extreme heat or cold before returning to Scotland and starting his idea for Scottish tea in 2010. The Wee Tea Plantation uses cutting edge methods for growing tea. The teas are sold through his friends business The Wee Tea Company and given as gifts during UK trade and diplomatic visits.

Unique teas are being grown and developed in Aberdeenshire, The Isle of Mull, Lismore, Orkney, Peebles, Perthshire and Dumfries & Galloway. A processing centre for freshly picked tea leaf is under construction at Perth & Kinross. New jobs and program of high-end tea training not known to exist outside of Asia is presently underway for the two first ever young British Tea Sommelier.- both local young people with appropriately sensitive palates.

The Scottish Tea Growers.
Photo courtesy of Wee Tea Plantation

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