Planting tea in your garden.
Tea plants are actually a forest dwelling camellia from SE Asia and contrary to expectations do appreciate a little shade. When choosing a location for your tea plant find a sheltered spot that gets some shade during the day. The ground should drain well as tea plants do not enjoy sitting with their roots in water. The soil should have a low pH (around 5.5) and not exceed a pH of 6.5, otherwise the plant struggles to take up some of the nutrients and nitrogen too. Tea plants love nitrogen and in the spring time you can give your plant a feed to push on growth. Once your plant starts to put out shoots, you will be able to take off some leaf for making a cup of White tea. Your plant is still young and the rule of thumb is you can pluck 5% of the leaf off the bush. This is why you need to add manures or liquid feeds, to help the plant replace anything taken from the plant after you pluck. Please follow the planting instructions on your label.
What is a White Tea and how can I make it at home?
A white tea is a non-processed tea. The tea leaves (a bud and a leaf) are simply plucked and allowed to wither and dry in the natural air and sunlight. When re-hydrated by adding 95C (just below boiling) water to the leaf, it gives a very pale light yellow liquor which is subtle to taste.
To make a white tea, pluck a bud and a leaf and lay them on net to maximise airflow around them. Making White tea is all about gently removing moisture from the leaf, so allow for three days for the leaf to wilt, and then crisp up. Then it is ready to drink.
Place your leaves (just two or three) in a small tea pot. Pour water that has been boiled and left for a couple of minutes (so it is about 95C) over the leaf and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Don't leave the leaves sitting in any remaining liquor, but strain this off, so the leaf is in no longer in water, until you are ready for a second cup. Then add more hot water and enjoy a second infusion.
Store your leaf in an airtight tin that keeps out the light too. If you want to extend the shelf life then you need to fire off your tea in the oven and this is a more technical process as reducing moisture too much impacts flavour, but as a first step in learning, this is a good way to start and gives you the health benefits of drinking tea.
Increasing your technical processing skills for making tea at home.
We highly recommend the UK Tea Academy where there is a short well priced on line course you can take if interested in making tea at home or gifting to someone who is!Book online course
WHILST ON YOUR TEA GROWING JOURNEY YOU MAY WISH (covid dependant) TO VISIT SCOTLAND TO:
Purchase tea plants for home or commercial use Buy tea plants
Visit an already established Tea Garden Tour
Attend a Tea Tasting
Receive on-site Tea Consultancy
Go on a Tea plucking course
Attend a Tea making course
Stay at a Tea Garden