The founders of Tea Gardens of Scotland have landed a major order for their black tea, Nine Ladies Dancing, as well as their new green tea, Frisky Rascal, with the luxury Bulgari Hotel London in Knightsbridge. This comes shortly after the popularity of Nine Ladies Dancing at Fortnum & Mason.
Tea Gardens of Scotland is a group of nine lady tea growers situated in Perthshire, Fife, Angus and Kincardineshire, who all began planting tea seeds in 2016. Their aim is to create authentic, hand-crafted 100-percent Scottish tea to a high standard, and to produce some of the most exquisite teas.
The group's signature tea, Nine Ladies Dancing, is now joined by their first roasted green tea to come out of Scotland. Named Frisky Rascal (see it on the menu, along with Nine Ladies Dancing, at the Bulgari Hotel here) – after a rescued red squirrel – this Perthshire grown green tea has been carefully crafted from the combined leaf of just three independent gardens in the county.
Now this new tea, Frisky Rascal, will be available at The Bulgari Hotel and Residences, a luxury boutique hotel in Knightsbridge with a distinctive modern burst that oozes glamour and authentic elegance.
A spokeswoman for Tea Gardens of Scotland told World Tea News: “We have been delighted by the encouraging uptake of our tea and how well it has been received. Our aim was to produce an authentic, high quality, hand-crafted tea. It’s a real joy when years of hard work pays off. To be included on the tea menu at the Bvlgari Hotel is a dream come true for us all.”
A spokesperson for Canton Tea, which Tea Gardens of Scotland works with, said, “Canton supplies some of the world’s top hotels and we are delighted to introduce Nine Ladies Dancing and Frisky Rascal to Bvlgari Knightsbridge, to be available on their Fine Tea menu with their afternoon teas. At Canton, we are in awe of the dedication and craftsmanship of these ladies of Tea Gardens of Scotland. The feedback from our customers has been very positive which is great credit to the astonishing achievement of these Scottish tea growers.”
The 'Frisky Rascal' Name Is 'Something Very Special'
Pinkie Methven, of St. Martins Tea Garden, one of the nine tea-growers of Tea Gardens of Scotland, shared her thoughts on the new Frisky Rascal tea.
“It had to be something very special for ‘Mr Wadja’ [the rescued red squirrel], he was so gorgeous and completely stole our hearts,” Methven explained. “At around seven/eight weeks old, he was found in the woods next to the tea garden at St Martins, and when dusk came and his mother hadn’t returned for him, he had to be taken care of. He was tiny, fitted in a pocket, and fed from a bottle a doll… Luckily, he thrived, and at the end of last year, he went accompanied first-class LNER to live at the British Wildlife Centre in Surrey. Although far from home there, they have a red squirrel breeding program and were delighted to have ‘Mr Wadja’ to broaden their gene pool. It was chosen because of their expertise and the large areas they have for red squirrels to have their freedom. They are open to the public and, as Mr Wadja had had so much human contact, it was the obvious choice for him. We felt very fortunate that they accepted him with open arms.”
According to Tea Gardens of Scotland, Frisky Rascal tea is very different – it’s smooth, vegetal and has nutty notes – and it stands apart from so many green teas that the ladies love from elsewhere in the world. So far, the ladies say the tea has been well received, way beyond their expectations.
New Careers as 'Tea Ladies'
As independent gardens, the nine tea growers of Tea Gardens of Scotland originally came together to develop the Nine Ladies Dancing black tea, a combination of leaf from each garden, merging the influences of each individual terroir to build the unique notes of this tea. Each of these women forged new careers as “tea ladies,” transforming abandoned walled gardens, diversifying farms and converting home gardens. They have faced steep learning curves, along with the unpredictable effects of climatic changes and weather.
Scotland is considered the most northerly country in the world to grow tea, and as trailblazers in this field, local advice for growing tea was scant. However, battling the unpredictable elements and a relatively short growing season, the ladies strengthened their resolve and called for expanding innovative techniques to establish mature bushes that could withstand the rigors of regular plucking. Today, the tea plants are still maturing, and although the yield increases each year, the teas at the nine estates are some of the world’s rarest tea productions.
Each individual garden of Tea Gardens of Scotland has matured considerably in the last six years, and now the ladies are all experimenting with their own teas. Three of the Perthshire gardens got together with the aim of developing a green tea, and after several years of micro batch experiments with their leaf at the Scottish Tea Factory, these three Perthshire tea-growers worked together with renowned international tea maker Beverly Wainwright, to find the best method for their leaf. First came a delicious steamed green tea called Birdsong, which was well received, and then the new, roasted green tea, Frisky Rascal.
Beverly Wainwright is a renowned professional in the tea industry, traveling the world consulting and teaching her tea making skills in countries such as Sri Lanka, Burma and the United States. She opened the Scottish Tea factory in Perthshire in 2018 and has helped the nine tea growers of Tea Gardens of Scotland with years of experimental micro-batches, to find the best method for their leaf. She runs the UK Tea Academy courses, among others at Scottish Tea factory in Perthshire.
To learn more about Tea Gardens of Scotland, visit TeaGardensofScotland.co.uk.
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