Azorean Tea – Azores 2019.

Azorean tea is originated from the Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze plant, a member of the Theaceae family, native to China. Industrial production of tea in the Azores began in the late 19th century, on the São Miguel Island and the industry grew thanks to the initiative and entrepreneurship of the Sociedade Promotora da Agricultura Micaelense (São Miguel Agriculture Promotion Society) members. The society’s methods of tea production and the whole processing were based on Chinese traditions, brought to the island through the teachings of two Chinese experts, the master artisan Lau-a-pan and his interpreter and assistant Lau-a-teng, who came to São Miguel in 1878.

The Azorean tea plantations at the factories of Chá Gorreana and Chá Porto Formoso, the only industrial tea-producing units in Europe, cannot compete in terms of production volume with the more than 34 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Oceania (the main centers of global production) that yield more than three million tonnes of tea per year. However, Azorean tea certainly holds its own properties (or characteristics) when it comes to quality, showing a superior polyphenol content and consequently a higher antioxidant activity than (or as compared to) teas from other origins. Furthermore, it is free of chemical treatments (pesticides and fungicides), from the plant cultivation to the point where it is ready to be enjoyed in a teacup made of typical regional pottery.

Azorean tea is regarded as a ‘pearl of the Atlantic,’ a biologically-produceddrink packed with health bene ts, including anti-carcinogenic componentsthat also help to prevent cardiovascular diseases. In addition, tea is also a drink with a very sociable side. It is often savored during long chats at beautifully set tables with regional embroidered tablecloths, or during the exciting harvest time that comes along with popular original costume, typical regional songs, and festival atmosphere provided by folk dance groups and guilds.

Azorean tea grower’s production use processes that generate green economy through sustainable agribusiness, and the ecological value of the tea, based on maintaining the quality of production, processing and marketing as a regional hallmark, at the same time as looking after the environment and human health. In this way, the ‘gourmet’ spirit of Azorean tea that presents a ‘unique’ typical oral, fruity and sweet aroma fulfills its destiny as a ‘green’brand of the Azores.

Date of issue – 27 Jun 2019