How tea grown in Scotland has wowed foodie aficionados – Scotsman comment

Tea may be ubiquitous in households across the land but when we think of its origins our minds turn to the hillsides of China, India and perhaps Kenya.

Tea is being grown at Rankeillour House in Cupar (Picture: Ashley Coombes)
Tea is being grown at Rankeillour House in Cupar (Picture: Ashley Coombes)

However, a new entrant has just stepped into this highly competitive market and the “Tea Gardens of Scotland” are already making a name for themselves.

Their brand Nine Ladies Dancing – described as “light-bodied, smooth and sweet with hints of caramel, dried fruit, chocolate and aromatic woody back notes”, so very much not your average ‘builders’ – has so impressed aficionados that foodie emporium Fortnum & Mason has now ordered a supply for its “Rare Tea” counter.

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The tea was grown on farmland but also in domestic gardens in Perthshire, Fife, Angus and Kincardineshire.

Tea consultant Beverly Wainwright admitted growing conditions for tea in Scotland were “far from ideal”, with a “very short growing season, harsh winters and low light levels”, which, we feel, is perhaps laying it on just a little bit thick. Scottish weather may not be closely associated with glorious sunshine, but steady on.

However, Wainwright added that the use of sheltered, walled gardens had enabled the small plantations to start to flourish, with the first teas “showing great promise with a distinct flavour profile, significantly influenced by the low light levels and long daylight hours of Scottish summer”.

We may have a long way to go before people begin to say they would not do something “for all the tea in Scotland”, but it seems we may have a rather special addition to the list of our finest produce – whisky, venison, haggis, soft fruit, langoustines, deep-fried Mars bars and so on.

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