2019 SPRING HARVEST
When you think of the word ‘terroir’ what comes to mind? For many, terroir is associated with wine. This is mainly because French winemakers originally developed the concept of terroir, which became the basis for the French wine appellation d’origine controlee(AOC). This is the model for wine appellation and regulation in France, which over time spread around the world.
Today, the concept of terroir is applied to many artisanal products in the food and beverage industry.
Climate, agricultural practices, soil conditions, altitude and longitude are some of the primary factors in the development of the terroir of tea. Similar to wine, tea takes time to evolve its terroir and the environment that tea grows in will directly affect the taste and flavour of the Camellia sinensis plant that all tea (black, green, white, oolong) comes from.
Our oldest tea bushes are 9 years old. Others were planted in 2014 and 2015. They have weathered extreme temperatures from 38C in our hot summers and down to -7C to -15C during some very rough winters. This also shapes the terroir in the tea garden. What we have discovered over the years of our experiment is that wind is actually one of most challenging elements in the growing of tea. Protective oils on the leaf become compromised with wind more than freezing or sun. The effects of climate change and extreme weather patterns are creating the need to protect and reinforce the plants from heavier snow falls and longer heat waves.
All of these factors combine to create a very unique and rare terroir tea that we are proud to share with the Cowichan and the tea world. Our Spring Harvest Tree Frog Green is a steamed green tea that evokes vegetal qualities with hints of asparagus. Swallow Tale Oolong is a highly oxidized oolong style tea with deep sweet peppery notes. White Mist is a graceful and richly flavoured white tea that truly captures the essence of our Westholme tea farm terroir.