Totally Scottish tea
TGS - OUR STORY - A pioneering evolution
We are a group of nine farms and businesses located throughout Angus, Fife and Perthshire who came together in 2016 with the idea of planting tea as a way to diversify. Some of our group wanted to revive some old walled gardens and felt that the micro-climates found in the walled gardens could be perfect for tea. We have since successfully propagated 40,000 cold-hardy tea seedlings. Inspiration for the group came from group member Susie Walker-Munro who conducted initial planting trials way back in 2007. From a small number of bushes successfully growing in polytunnels Susie created her first 100% pure Scottish Black Tea "Kinnettles Gold" that was launched onto the market in 2015. The Community Food fund awarded the group a grant in early 2016 to conduct a feasibility study for tea growing in Scotland. The study was conducted by tea consultants Teacraft Ltd. and is now freely available to anyone wishing to grow tea. View feasibility study for tea growing in Scotland >>
OUR TEA PLANTS
Scottish from seed
Initial trials of growing plants that had been propagated from cuttings outside showed little success therefore this led the group to look into propagation from seed. In early 2016 we planted around 40,000 cold-hardy seeds imported from ex Soviet Georgia and Ilam district in Nepal. Seedling tea has a big advantage over tea grown from cuttings in that it develops a long tap root which makes the plants much stronger. This is an essential requirement in the Scottish climate where growing conditions for tea are marginal compared to any of the other tea growing regions in the world. Tea takes at least 4-5 years from planting to mature into bushes that can withstand the rigours of regular plucking. Tea growing in Scotland is pioneering and requires innovation. We take professional tea consultancy advice to give us a solid knowledge base but are adapting and modifying much of the existing growing knowledge to fit our growing profile. Our future Scottish teas will be truly unique all the way from seed to cup.
OUR SCOTTISH TEAS
Makers of pure hand-made teas
TGS is a diverse group of people who each have their own particular favourite tea and as a result are interested in producing very different teas in the future. We all have one thing in common, a passion for high-quality tea! We plan to process our teas individually at each different garden with great care on an extremely small-scale. To create a truly unique tea it is vital to work with the green leaf and to find the best processing methods to work with our terroir. Learning about different teas is a major part of our strategy. Several group members have already travelled to Sri Lanka to specifically look at and learn from small scale tea makers. Future study trips are being planned to ex Soviet Georgia, Japan and various other renowned tea growing areas. Over the next few years whilst the plants continue to mature, tea consultant Beverly-Claire Wainwright will be conducting a variety of small-scale experiments and teaching the group the basics of different types of tea making. Mature tea bushes lend themselves to improved flavour and finished tea quality which means that it is going to be several years before anything like a commercial quantity of tea will be produced by the group. Susie Walker-Munro will continue to produce just a few kilos of her very special "Kinnettles Gold" hand-made 100% Scottish black tea each year from her mature plants.
If you would like to try some truly special Kinnettles Gold Scottish black tea it is on sale at PekoeTea.