Starting with an orange plantation, the Motta family planted the first tea leaves in the Azores in 1870. After almost 150 years, a few tea leaves have become the oldest tea plantation in Europe and one of the few that is still family-run. Director Madalena Motta shows life on the tea plantation and the process from the tea harvest to the finished end product in the recently released documentary.
But what is so special about the so-called Azorean tea from Cha Gorreana?
If you look at the climatic situation of the tea plantation in the Azores, it is clear that it is close to the sea and there are no pests on the entire island of Sao Miguel. Therefore, the tea plant in the Azores does not need pesticides and the tea is fresh and "easy to drink" due to the acidic soil. The bitter taste that is usually associated with green teas is also absent from Cha Gorreana's green teas. The tea can be steeped for longer periods without becoming bitter or undrinkable.
Moreover, the Azores tea does not pose any dangers with regard to existing toxins. As has already been proven in several tests, almost all green teas that can be bought here in Germany are contaminated with harmful substances and can harm the body if consumed regularly or at the wrong brewing time/at too low an infusion temperature. Considering that green teas are supposed to be healthy, we are happy to have found a green tea by Cha Gorreana that allows us to consume green tea without worrying and to do something good for our body.
Another aspect that makes Azorean tea so special is the working environment in the Azores. According to Madalena Motta, tea pickers in the Azores earn about €1,200 per month, which is much more than tea pickers in Asia (sometimes €1 per hour). This is also noticeable in the quality of the tea, because good tea can also be recognised by good care of the tea plant. As can be seen in the documentary by Deutsche Welle, the tea leaves are even still processed in old machines from over 100 years ago, while other tea producers already have to dispose of their third machine in 10 years.
So it is fair to say that Cha Gorreana knows exactly what matters in today's world. In addition to fair payment, the avoidance of pesticides and the careful use of new resources, Cha Gorreana is an answer to what many are currently looking for. With a woman at the helm of the tea plantation, this image is further strengthened and shows how advanced Cha Gorreana and the local people already are. Madalena Motta's passion and love for tea is definitely evident and that is why we are even more pleased to be able to work with such great people.
Source photos: Cha Gorreana