An English afternoon tea that is really English
A clever gardener and the unusual climate of Cornwall has produced the first single estate tea grown in Great Britain. At the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall growing of Camellia has been going on for centuries. But recently they had the idea that if the normal Camilia can grow on the estate, the other Camellia Sinensis plant – also known as tea – should also be able to grow and to produce tea.
The reason is that the climate in Cornwall is very similar to Darjeeling – lots of rain and a narrow range of temperature extremes. The tea growing started in 1999 on the basis of cuttings and seed imported from tea growing regions all over the world. In 2005 they had the first commercial crop. The tea picked underwent the traditional processes of withering, rolling, oxidation and drying and the output was 50-kilos of “Single Estate” tea – England’s first ever home produced tea.
Since then the testing and developing has continued and this year the Estate was able to present the first ever English fresh tea. Fresh Tregothnan Tea is the hand-plucked two leaves and a bud without any processing or oxidation. It is of course a very limited production and sold in small quantities at a few places in the UK, such as Fortnum and Mason.
We have tried the black Tregothnan single estate English tea, bought at Fortnum and Mason for a quite high price, and were quite pleased. It has a freshness and lightness we often find is lacking in other black teas. Our preferred tea is therefore often the green tea, from Japan or other places. But this black Tregothnan taste would be a close second in our preferences – if only the price wasnt 1500 £ a kg!
But keep an eye on Tregothnan teas. There are blending their own production with tea from other estates at more affordable prices. See more at www.tregothnan.co.uk and enjoy the pleasures of Cornwall.