Scotland The Next Big Thing For Tea


Growing Tea in Scotland

Tea estates and farms are largely grown in surrounding areas of China and India. Kenya’s been exporting a lot of loose leaf teas, but now Scotland is entering the tea market in a big way. They have been farming and cultivating in the Highland area, in the central part known as Perthshire.

Highland region of Scotland is famed for prized whisky distillers as The Macallan Distillery and my personal favorite, Glenmorangie (Nectar D’Or).  

Interesting Facts about Highlands, Scotland:

  • The Highlands is the largest geographical area of all whisky regions in Scotland.
  • Highlands account for 25% of Scotland’s malt whisky production.
  • Perthshire once had 70 distilleries, but now only 6 remain. Characters of fruity spices are common whisky profiles.

What Makes Perthshire Unique for Tea Growing?

The Camellia Sinensis plants (used to cultivate teas) are robust, and have temperature tolerances of -11C, that make it ideal for growing loose leaf teas within that region. With good rainfall, high altitudes, and capable of growing award winning malts, the migration to teas only seem natural.

By geography, Scotland is part of the United Kingdom, and their southern neighbours (the British) are large consumers of tea. So with a robust tea market that is accessible to Scotland tea producers, it only seems logically to grow,cultivate and sell teas in Scotland.

I haven’t had the pleasure of trying teas produced in Scotland, but with ideal growing conditions and a pedigree for growing great malts, they could easily carry this over and apply this to growing teas in Scotland.

Thoughts on Scotland Teas

As I write this, I’ve decided to pour myself a drink of Macallan 18 year old, and reminded of how great Scotland whiskey can be. Recent winners of the best producers of whisky have fallen out of love with Scotland. Last year’s winner was based in Japan, and American whisky producers seem to consistently be producing top notch whiskeys. So it’s great to see Scotland diversifying away from being a whisky only producer, and into other industries such as tea.

With that said, I’m curious to see how teas grown in Scotland or any region outside of popular regions will taste in the future. With global climate changes threatening existing environments, it’s important for the tea industry as a whole to explore different regions outside traditional areas to keep this industry growing in the years to come.

Remember, Camellia Sinensis is the plant that is used to make a wide range of teas. It’s the processing that categorizes, and discerns teas into green tea, black tea, and white tea. So growing Camellia Sinensis to cultivate teas from different regions can create many varietals of tea, which give tea consumers an even wider array of tea based product offerings.

Winegrowers often refer terroir as the natural environment, including soil, water, climate as the reason for imparting characteristic tastes, and flavor profiles that make wines unique. The same can be said of teas, so let’s hope Scotland tea producers continued success, and with great teas it can spawn other countries to produce teas as well. This would open up an entire new palate range for tea consumers to try, and enjoy.