Camellia for Foliage, Flowers, Fruit & Tea
Tea has never to date been harvested in the UK so there is an opportunity to adapt or abandon old principles. The UK's first tea garden was planted at Tregothnan in 1999 and it aims to develop an exclusive connoisseur tea as a forerunner to a wider tea industry. The nearest tea production sites to Britain are in Turkey, South Carolina and the Azores. Each of these is confined to black tea and offers little in the way of useful experience. The less familiar teas offer the most potential for UK production: green, oolong, white and others.
The German and UK tea markets are held to be the most sophisticated in the modern world. There is a global perception of the British being passionate about tea. Germany is becoming powerful in sourcing and controlling herbal beverages such as Rooibos and Honeybush.
The present international tea production and trading pattern was largely created by the British although other European countries - notably France and Germany - played a major part in opening up trade of tea with China. The UK tea council leads internationally in its work to promote tea and helps advance tea appreciation and consumption. UK-based consultancy is also highly regarded.
It must be remembered that a UK wine industry seemed an unlikely opportunity in 1960. Now there are 300+ vineyards and the French are investing here whilst a quality is being established.
6) Tea Production
Total world production is 3,000,000 tonnes divided up as follows:
Sri Lanka 20%
Other Africa 7%
Other Asia 2%
The obvious challenge to the concept of UK Tea is climate. Yet parts of the UK offer a climate for tea to rival some of the finest quality in the world. The season is among the world's shorter: multiple cuts may be reduced accordingly. However the first flush (picking) is the main one of worth in many international locations.
Tea was considered once before as a UK crop. That was during the wartime 1940s. It was almost impossible to bring in sufficient planting stock and, given the 5-year establishment period required, the idea was soon abandoned.