Sunday, July 31, 2011

Britain Grows Tea

It is hard to picture Britain without tea. It is, after all, the only country where “tea” is the name of a meal. Yet all that tea is imported. For generations, it came from colonies that were prized mainly for their ability to supply tea, such as India. Britain itself was too cold to grow tea, until now.

A tea farm in the far south of England is growing Britain’s first domestic tea. Reuters reported on this trend in a Thursday story, “Climate change brings tea and apricots to Britain.” Britain’s first tea farm got off to a slow start in 1999 but has seen its harvest grow to an expected 10 tons or more this season. That is bigger than it sounds. If a teabag is 2 grams, that’s 5 million cups of British-grown tea this year.

The tea farm in England is not just a reflection of climate change. It also shows the effects of the increasing costs of transportation. Tea is not very heavy, but even tea is costly enough to transport that it is worth the effort to try to source it closer to home.