The Terroir of Tea
Terroir is a French term used to describe the influence of place on the character of a wine, but it now extends to other artisanal crops such as tea, coffee, olive oil and chocolate.
A product exhibiting terroir is imbued with a particular personality associated with its location which makes it recognisable and distinct from others.
There are many components that make up terroir, broadly spit into environmental and human.
Environmental factors include the individual site’s topography, soil and geology, climate and specific weather patterns.
However, tea can’t make itself, and it is the vital role of mankind and the extent of their influence on terroir that often sparks debate.
In the tea garden, humans decide on the variety or clone to plant, the best garden practices, the plucking standard and ultimately how to process the leaves.
Magic is made when sound garden management is combined with good processing techniques and use of equipment that allow the leaf to express its terroir or unique identity.
It’s a very difficult balance and one that producers of fine artisanal products everywhere strive to strike, us included, as we look to nurture and express the innate character of our Jersey teas.