Last time we looked at what term terroir means. Despite having a broad understanding of terroir and how it affects tea, this series is giving me a whole load of fascinating new information. I have a naturally inquisitive nature and I love learning! So here’s what I have discovered…
So, what factors contribute to terroir? There are various trains of thought on what exactly makes up terroir, but there is a general consensus that the following elements determine a tea’s unique flavour, aroma, health benefits and even its cost:
Climate: everything about a places’ unique climate – the temperature, how much the sun shines, how much it rains and how windy it is – affect how well and when tea grows.
Take the beautiful tropical island of Sri Lanka, I was lucky enough to visit recently, for example. Despite being small it has a really varied climate. This means that the island can produce an array of different teas in abundance all year round, making it the fourth largest tea producer in the World!
In places like Uva in the eastern highlands of Sri Lanka there have very hot and dry Cachan winds from July to September that cause the tea trees’ leaves to curl up to protect them from the draught. This encourages the cells of the leaves to replace lost moisture, so the teas made in Uva at this time of year are really juicy and full fo flavour. Nowhere else in the world experiences this windy climate, it’s unique. Therefore these Uva teas are – understandably – very pricey!
Tomorrow, how topography affects a tea’s unique characteristics.