Over 500 years ago, the British people borrowed China’s national drink of tea, embracing the ceremony of plucking, drying, brewing and serving the perfect cup. Tea has cemented itself in British history, becoming the iconic British drink of choice with British tea drinkers now consuming 165 million cups of tea per day. However, we were unable to grow tea commercially within the UK until 2005 when the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall became the first tea plantation to supply the world’s first truly British tea.
The wartime British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill had decreed that large areas of the South West of England should be covered in tea estates, as he believed that if our wartime supplies of tea in Britain were ever depleted, then the war would almost certainly be lost to the Germans. The war ended before the planting ever really began in Britain, so it wasn’t until 60 years later than Churchill got his British tea wish.
Following in the footsteps of the great wartime Prime Minister, in 2012 the British government launched a campaign designed to showcase some of the best of British products. The GREAT British campaign has been promoting British exports for the last four years and has been recognised as the government’s most ambitious promotional campaign yet, contributing over £2.7 bilion to the UK economy since it was established.
In 2013 Tregothnan was invited to 10 Downing Street to launch our truly British tea in connection with the GREAT British campaign because, after all, what could be more British than tea? The tea, designed for the purposes of export, created a stir amongst the world’s media, with curious international journalists discovering that British products are so good that we can even ‘sell tea to China’.
Our GREAT British tea is a unique blend of Cornish grown British tea leaves and bold, malty leaves from Assam. Our Great British tea is a strong and hearty breakfast brew that embodies one of the greatest things about, not only British tea culture, but also the rich history of tea that stems from the Chinese traditions embedded within a cup of tea.
Tregothnan’s campaign to create the most British tea in history began when the Camellia sinensis (tea bush) was planted in the garden. Tregothnan’s beautiful, private, botanical garden has always been at the centre of British plant innovation as Tregothnan’s land was the first port of call for ships carrying exotic plant specimens to England from far away countries. For this reason ornamental Camellias were first introduced to Tregothnan over two hundred years ago – a plant which is now so synonymous with the British and Cornish countryside.
Our unique British tea has been plucked from tea bushes grown on the Tregothnan Estate on the banks of the Cornish Rivera – an idyllic holiday destination that provides the perfect micro climate for growing tea. Cornwall’s warm and wet conditions mimic the climates similar to that of Darjeeling, allowing us to grow our very own British tea here in Cornwall – home to the iconic Cornish Cream tea.
Despite harvesting smaller quantities of tea than other larger companies across the world, this truly British tea sees an export rate of nearly 50% with it’s largest fan base in the Far East. New stockists in China, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore prove that our Great British tea is a tribute to the quality of this profoundly British tea and also to the capabilities of our British nation itself.
This unique British tea, is a celebration of our British culture and provides an insight into the origins of our nation’s favourite drink. From bush to cup, every element of our tea has been carefully crafted with Britain in mind in order to insure the truest representation of a drink that plays such a large part in our culture, allowing us to develop this GREAT British tea.
Here at the Tregothnan estate in Cornwall we offer the opportunity for tea enthusiasts and visitors to Cornwall to experience this innovation in tea by hosting tea masterclasses, garden tours and tea growing experiences. We hope to spread our love for the British number one drink and our knowledge about how to grow the world’s first truly British tea.
Our Great British tea is a representation of the Tregothnan ethos to strive to create, develop and promote innovative blends using sustainable British produce. Working alongside other Great British brands and business pioneers, we have proven that Britain has the capability to grow and serve the ultimate British tea drinking experience.