You may be aware of Scotland’s historic link with the commercial success of tea, however what may surprise you is the present day endeavours of a group of real Scottish Tea Pioneers who are actually growing tea in Scotland!
Tea Gardens of Scotland is the collective name for the growers whose gardens are based in Perthshire, Angus and Fife. It’s early days for the plants, or perhaps we should say early years, but nonetheless, they are planted, thriving and indeed group founder member Susie Walker-Munro has already been able to produce a very distinctive “Kinnettles Gold” handmade Scottish black tea. The group’s co-ordinator and tea consultant is Beverly-Claire Wainwright whose vast experience involves managing the Amba Tea Estate in Sri Lanka and organising tea tours across many tea growing regions of the world.
Of course simply growing the tea leaf is only part of the process, the tea has to be picked and made so Beverly gained support to build Scotland’s very first purpose built Tea Factory. I had the pleasure of going along to visit the Tea Factory, meet a number of the tea growers and take part in the very first Scottish UK Tea Academy Tea Champions course run by Bev. Enthusiasm for all things tea abound and over two days the course covers enough to give anyone starting out in the world of tea enough confidence to be able to understand what tea is, the history behind the leaf, knowledge of tea types, how it should be served and taste. Whilst the course is a classroom based learning style, there are plenty of practical sessions that help bring things into focus, with lots of fun thrown in too.
The factory is quite amazing, whilst small, it is ‘tardis like’ and is fully equipped to facilitate the manufacture of Scottish grown tea.
Tea Gardens of Scotland recognised that the authenticity of tea leaves they produced would be crucial if they were to gain the commercial credit for a ‘grown in Scotland’ product. Jenier were delighted to help with the project by contributing a number of samples from teas grown around the world to Professor David Burslem, School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen. Professor Burslem conducted analysis and presented his findings earlier this year and to the delight of everyone, concluded it was indeed possible to identify the exact region where a tea leaf had been grown, thus the provenance of Scottish grown tea could be certified and protected.
Watch the video about the Scottish Tea Factory from Beverly-Claire Wainwright.
Find out more about the Scottish UK Tea Academy Courses
Find out more about the Tea Gardens of Scotland