Discover a very unique tea: Portuguese tea from the Azores.
Tea has been drunk for more than 5000 years.
Tea, used as a beverage, would have appeared in 2737 BC. According to the legend, tea leaves were detached from a tree and fell into the boiling water intended to quench Emperor Shennong's thirst.
However, the first known signs of tea consumption appear in China towards the end of Antiquity on a text dated 59 B.C. describing its medicinal virtues.
Originally, tea was used to scent the water that was boiled before drinking it, but it was quickly appreciated for its therapeutic virtues and was said to relieve fatigue, strengthen the will and improve eyesight.
Tea became a daily drink in China during the Three Kingdoms in the 3rd century.
500 years ago, Europeans discovered tea
In 1513, the Portuguese landed for the first time in Macao but it was not until 1553 that a trading post and its first buildings were installed, thus opening up the trade routes between Europe, China, India and Japan. Tea was one of the first goods imported via these routes.
In 1615, a century later, we find the first document mentioning the tea trade between China and Europe under the aegis of English merchants.
It is from 1662, date which corresponds to the marriage of the king of England Charles II and the Portuguese princess Catherine of Braganza, that the habit of taking tea becomes popular in Europe.
The tea of the Azores, the only European tea.
Tea appeared in São Miguel (the largest island of the Azores) at the beginning of the 19th century, but it was in 1874 that its cultivation was organized under the impetus of Jose do Canto (a large Portuguese landowner and botanist) helped by two Chinese from Macau that he invited.
Tea plantation in Azores - Credit Discover Azores
It is on the Portuguese islands of the Azores and more particularly on the island of São Miguel that the only European teas are cultivated today. This particularity is due to the geographical position of the Azores and to the quality of their soil. Indeed, the tea plant likes hot and humid climates as well as acid and clay soils.
It is on the island of São Miguel that there are two unique plantations in Europe: The plantation "Gorreana" and the plantation "Porto Formoso".
Azores tea, a rare tea.
These two plantations have only a few acres of land and, as a result, the teas produced are rare teas.
The Gorreana plantation, for example, covers only 32 acres and produces only about 40 tons of tea per year. By comparison, China produces over 2.3 million tons of tea per year and India 1.2 million tons.
Gorreana Plantation - Credit byacores
These teas are also rare because they are cultivated on an island located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 1500 km west of Lisbon, protected from any pollution. Their cultivation does not use herbicides, pesticides or fungicides that are harmful to health and disastrous for the subtle taste of tea.
Finally, their artisanal production method, based on a limited harvest from April to September, uses neither coloring nor preservatives.
In the online store Luisa Paixão, you will find a selection of the best teas from the Azores.
Azores green tea
Azores black tea
Azores black tea with Ginginha
Azores green tea with pineapple