Growing tea in Scotland
If you love tea and beautiful countryside - visit Perthsire
Getting the plants in the ground has been quite a journey, our aim has been to use natural methods as much as possible. We are trying to be environmentally aware wherever possible and this is a huge learning curve. Seed-grown tea plants adds complexity to the taste and flavour. The cold Scottish winters reduce the tea growing season in Scotland to around six months - this gives bushes time to rest and gather strength while enhancing the flavour.
There are several TGS growers in Perthshire who have a wide variety of skills and experience, and their gardens are equally diverse.
The project started in Jan 2016 - what have we been doing? - In brief:
14 months propagating seedlings from cold hardy tolerant seed imported from Georgia (ex Soviet)
6 months ground clearance over the winter
1 month hardening off camellia sinensis tea plants
1 month ground prep - deep hole digging and back filling
1 month planting and staking
Natural pest control using nematodes
Fertiliser regimes (organic and non organic), wind and winter protection research
Irrigation system installation
Fencing and deer protection
Tea processing experiments
Micro tea processing equipment research
Learning about tea! - tea tasting and tea making
Tea and food pairing - with locally grown Perthshire / Scottish produce
Tea tourism outreach
We have started the process of careful formative pruning which will continue for several years in order to ensure the best possible yield. This is essential given that tea growing in Scotland is marginal and our plucking season is extremely short. Tea made from immature plants is great for experimenting but does not produce the best quality tea - however conducting experiments we hope will be key to our success. We are really excited and committed to create really good quality teas that relate to our Scottish terroir.
We have have taken expert consultancy advice from around the world. We are hoping that our 1,200 tea plants will produce in the region of 20-50 kilos of leaf per season which is 4-10 kilos made tea. We are experimenting with White, Black and Green teas.