The Wee Tea company in Dunfermline appeared almost out of nowhere to create not just a tea grown in Scotland but an award-winning one earlier this year.
But surprisingly that’s not the only Scottish tea out there as Susie Walker-Munro has been experimenting with tea since bringing up cuttings from the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall to Kinnettles in Angus in 2007. The conditions for growing tea at Kinnettles seemed to be just like those at Tregnothan and therefore perfect for growing tea – well in a polytunnel for now at least.
Assisted by Beverly-Claire Wainwright of Teacraft who spent 4 years managing Amba tea estate in Sri Lanka who provide tea to Fortnum & Mason, and has more recently been training people in small-scale tea production in Mississippi*, a special partnership and tea was born.
*I had no idea tea was grown in the USA but I’ve discovered that there are tea estates in several other states including: Alabama, Hawaii and Michigan.
The yield at Kinnettles is small so only 2kg of Kinnettles Gold was made this year, it’s semi-oxidised making it somewhere between green and black tea, perhaps more similar to oolong and what you get in a tin is a hand-rolled single estate blend.
It’s best brewed with boiling water and drunk without milk, the leaves fan out and become quite leathery with the liquid turning light amber in colour with a mellow taste to match, like sweet caramel but it is mildly tannic/astringent with an aroma of sweet stewed apples and you can re-infuse the same leaves another couple of times.
There’s only one place where you can buy it – tea specialist Pekoe Tea in Edinburgh, which was founded in 2006 by husband & wife team Jon and Esther Cooper, they now have two shops in Stockbridge and Tollcross. There are 75 numbered tins available to buy but at £2.5k per kilo it’s not cheap. A 20g tin costs £50. Not all the tea is going into tins, so if you just want to have a single cup pop into their Stockbridge store but this will still set you back £15!
But this is a highly limited product, so if there’s a tea lover in your life who appreciates something special (and Scottish) then this could be the perfect Christmas present and who knows, next year this might be known for being award-winning too!
Find out more about the tea here. You can order online and they ship internationally but please note the last Christmas Shipping dates below.
UK Standard Delivery – Thursday 17th December
UK Royal Mail 24 – Monday 21st December
Europe, Canada, USA – Monday 14th December