After a visit in the amazing Reunion island entered World Heritage Site by Unesco this year 2010, French overseas department positioned on Indian ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius, we’d the pleasure to savour and discover the only French production of tea, and organic in addition!
In Reunion Island, tea production is not a new thing. It’s been introduced on the Island in 1965 within culture diversification. In 1967, renowned tea, the production amount to 29 tons and 40 tons in 1969 then stopped in 1972.
In https://www.theteaclub.com/ , Johnny Guichard took responsibility of a vintage exploitation of tea goes back to 1955 and refitted it.Perched at 1 100m altitude at the foot of primary forest of Reunion, the exploitation is located in Grand Coud at the south east of Reunion Island.
The exploitation can boasts being the only real tea production of France. However, Johnny Guichard has specialized in organic premium tea beneath the brand Le Labyrinthe En Champ Th with white tea and white tea-flavoured with many flavours; cinnamon, lemongrass, rosat geranium, lemon geranium, lemon eucalyptus, vanilla, mint, lemongrass.
Family production, the exploitation of organic white tea of 3 hectares produces 4-6 tons of organic white tea per year.
Despite the conventional wisdom, tea isn’t a shrub but a tree which could achieve 20 m in height. It really is cut at breast height to allow the collection.
Another idea unknown to the public, tea plants are grafted together naturally in forest. Their branches intersect and end up “merge”.
The harvesting of organic white tea from the exploitation is performed over summer and winter except in June and July.
Tea production as any agricultural crop follows a particular process. The distinctive feature of the exploitation of the Labyrinth is that all step is done by hand.
1 – The first step may be the cutting of tea plants.
2 – Tea culture : tea grows until it reaches its size of harvest.
3 – Picking : After the tea has reached harvestable size, it is picked by hand. But not at any time of day, in the morning when the dew continues to be present.
In Asia, they often times practice imperial picking; only the small terminal bud is removed. But white tea harvesting may also be done by fin picking (bud and the two leaves after), that your Labyrinth uses.
4. Drying: tea is naturally dried in a workshop, from the sun, on crates.
5. Flavour: tea-flavoured on the exploitation is manufactured with different dried plants apart, then, they are blended with the white tea.
6. Grinding : tea is ground yourself.
7. Triage: It is done yourself, the large stems is removed to keep only the leaves and buds. However it mays that thin stems have the ability to slip into the lot.
8. Packaging and labelling: it really is still done by hand. The aim of the Labyrinth in a medium or long-term would be to acquire a machine that can do this work and invite them to pack quicker larger levels of white tea.
What Makes A Good Tea
If these operations seem simple what differentiates a good tea to a negative tea.
Like good wine, good tea originates from an excellent soil. And Reunion Island in Grand Coud gets the essential qualities for making a high-standard tea. Having been fallow for pretty much 40 years, the soil is rich. Nevertheless, a good soil is a very good start however, not only.
Other determinants components are picking. The harvest time is critical. The Labyrinth En Champ Th makes this through the morning where the air continues to be cool and where dew continues to be present.
Then, drying is also important. Tea should be dried during packaging. This step allows an excellent preservation of tea.
Certification In All This
Organic tea and a conventional one change lives on the tea quality. The huge benefits are obviously good for the environment and this is especially true for the Labyrinth En Champ Th which does not use of chemicals inputs and respects the ecosystem.The tea is better still.
Certified “AB – Agriculture Biologique”, the French equivalent of USDA Organic for all of us and Soil Association for UK, the exploitation must follow precise specifications and receives one scheduled visit of “AB” auditors one per year and unscheduled visits, 2 to 3 3 checks per year.
The auditors shall audit the seeds, crops and how farmers are powered by the tea. The audit is star with a theoretical phase which is verification of specifications and a practical phase on the field.
Also, the specificity of Grand Coud organic white tea is that, at any time, it really is treated. The soil is fed with compost from tea plants. Tea is left to grow at its own pace without the use of chemical fertilizers and tea fields are left in their natural environment.
The other feature is that there are no diseases or pests on the exploitation so far, so you don’t have of treatment. Also, by manual labour at all stages of tea production, the total amount of the ecosystem is preserved.
Moreover, the exploitation is moving to a production in agro forestry in short-term (tea growing undergrowth) tea plants, being in the woods, will undoubtedly be shaded. One hand, it will allow to further increase the quality of tea and to facilitate the picking.
A Matter Of Taste
White tea is tea, that undergoes minimal processing where are took only the buds and young shoots (leaves, both that follow). This is one of the reasons why white tea is a premium tea and has not a full flavored taste like green tea or black tea.
White tea is called the best tea but needless to say everyone has their preferences.
White teas, like all teas, have antioxidant properties, but white tea is lower in theine. Because of that it is a light tea that could be appreciated until the evening.
White tea requires an infusion longer than green or black tea (15 mn). The organic white tea from Reunion gives off a good sweetness on the palate that means it is subtle, without the bitterness. Namely, that those who prefer green tea to black tea, enjoy more.