Posted on 22 June 2017
Despite there being over 30,000 varieties of the plant Camelia, the one we’re really interested in is Camelia sinensis, otherwise known as the tea plant. Typically grown in far-flung and exotic places rather than here at home in Blighty, one estate in Cornwall has managed to create a commercial tea plantation thanks to their unique local microclimate.
The Tregothnan Estate, just a few miles away from Truro, benefits from a climate very similar to Darjeeling in India and has the perfect soil pH and ideal amount of rainfall for the tea plant to flourish. A seawater creek also brings in warm water from the Gulf of Mexico which Camelia sinensis really loves. In fact, the conditions are so localised, that even just a mile down the road, the plants would struggle to survive.
The estate did face some problems to being with, namely that the local pheasant population took a liking to the broad green leaves and ate the first few experiments. Undeterred however, the would-be tea growers persevered and now have a flourishing plantation.
Tregothnan Estate tea is processed and packaged on site and sold right across the UK. The blends have even made their way to China where the story of these British tea pioneers has really captured the imagination of the Chinese public.
If you fancy trying some home-grown British tea, take a look at the Tregothnan website and tea shop.