nine ladies dancing
Perthshire, Fife, Angus and Kincardineshire, Scotland
“The quantities of tea being currently made are tiny, just a few kilos a year, making Scottish tea one of the rarest in the world.”
- Beverly-Claire Wainwright, Scottish Tea Factory founder.
100% Scottish-grown tea from nine women entrepreneurs who repurposed the walled gardens of ancient country houses into tea gardens. The result is a smooth, golden black tea with notes of dried fruit, caramel and chocolate. There’s also a lovely woodiness in the background – a nod, no doubt, to the unique terroir and landscape of Scotland. Very limited edition run of just 25 tins.
Only available at Fortnum & Mason’s rare tea counter, our partner Corinthia Hotel’s Royal Penthouse Suite, and online at cantontea.com.
This variant is currently sold out.
read the leaves
01 | Susie at work among the ancient walls of Kinnettles Tea Garden in Angus.
step 1: leaves
For one cup, measure out 3 grams (around 1.5 tsp) into your teapot or brew mug.
step 2: water
Heat 250ml of water to 95°C (if you don’t have a thermometer, boil the kettle and leave to cool for a few minutes).
step 3: time
Pour your heated water over the leaves and steep for 3-4 minutes. Drink.
Top tip: You can infuse these leaves up to two or three times. Just remember to pour out any excess water which may have gone bitter.
02 | Mary checking tea leaf growth in the polytunnels at Kinnordy Estate.
Nine Ladies Dancing is a black tea unlike anything else we’ve tried. The tea-producing conditions in Scotland are incredibly difficult, with very short growing seasons, harsh winters and low light levels. There is of course some some variation between regions; in the garden at Rickerton, polytunnels are needed to protect the young bushes from unpredictable highland weather, while down at Broich Tea Garden in lowland Strathearn, the sheltered position and sunny microclimate means the bushes thrive uncovered. Even here, the tea grows slowly, concentrating the sublime flavour in each leaf (much like a high mountain tea).
The liquor yields a smooth, light-bodied golden black tea with notes of dried fruit, sweet caramel, cocoa-rich chocolate and a hint of aromatic woodiness.
03 | Tea Gardens of Scotland members from left to right: Pinkie Methven, Veronica Murray Poore, Susie Walker Munro, Polly Holman-Baird, Lisa Dickson, Kate Elliott, Mary Gifford, Catherine Drummond-Herdman and Jane Spencer Nairn.
In 2016, nine indomitable women entrepreneurs repurposed the walled gardens of their ancient country houses, estates and castles into tea gardens in Perthshire, Fife, Angus and Kincardineshire. They called themselves the Tea Gardens of Scotland collective – and their mission was to create a revolutionary wave of authentic, handcrafted Scottish tea. By sharing glasshouses, machinery and bucketloads of determination, these nine women propagated tea plants after experimenting with seeds from all over the world – and finally settled on cold-hardy varieties from Nepal and Georgia which would thrive in the harsh Scottish climate. They also trialled innovative techniques such as using sheep wool for mulch, steeping organic fertilisers, experimenting with different crop protection, and trialling seeds grown both in seed beds and straight into the ground.
The finished tea was made and processed in small batches by Beverly-Claire Wainwright, founder of the Scottish Tea Factory, the first small scale tea factory to be established in Scotland. After months perfecting the right processing techniques for leaves of this calibre, it takes Beverly-Claire several days and nights of rolling, resting and roasting each small batch to draw out the sweetest, richest flavours of this unique, entirely Scottish-grown tea.
04 | Pinkie foliar feeding her tea bushes at St Martins Tea Garden.
05 | Strong young tea bushes thriving at Veronica’s Broich Tea Garden in Perthshire.
06 | Polly tending to her tea bushes in the polytunnels at Rickarton, Kincardineshire.
07 | Lisa watering her tea bushes in the tea maze at Dollerie House, Perthshire.
08 | Kate’s tea bushes weathering harsh conditions at Logie Tea Garden in Fife.
09 | Catherine doing a spot of pruning in the walled garden Megginch Castle.
10 | Rows of well-protected young tea plants at Jane’s Rankeilour Tea Garden in Fife.
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