The exotic tea leaf – the leaf that requires just so weather conditions and virtiginous elevations to become the beverage we love – is grown in the gardens at Tregothnan, Cornwall, England. Quite acceptable that our clotted cream comes from cows grazing contendedly on Cornwall’s splendid grass, but tea leaves?
Yes indeed! An English blogger who follows us alerted us to Tregothnan. Off we went, virtually speaking, and investigated.
First the back story: Back in the mists of the early 19th century, the head gardener succeeded in growing the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, on the Tregothnan Estate; now the current Gardener-in-chief, Jonathon Jones, is raising commercial tea crops. Who knew the Cornish weather – the humidity, the soil, the length of the winter and the length of sunshine – was beneficial to tea crops?. In a nutshell, the climate in Cornwall approximates the climate of the Himalayan foothills. Who knew?
The story today: Tea leaves are harvested beginning in April or May and continues through to the autumn. The leaves then wither for up to eight hours, then rolled by hand to allow fermentation. After a long drying process, a percentage (very small) of the leaves are held back for Tregothnan’s Single Estate Tea. This is the pure tea grown on the estate; the rest of the tea crop is blended with leaves from plantations around the world to create unique teas.
If any of our followers has visited Tregothnan in ‘real time, we’d love to hear from you.