Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 17:38 UK

Estate tea brews up foreign sales

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Each tea plants takes six years to mature

A tea plantation in Cornwall has said it expects exports of its tea - including shipping to China, India and Japan - to overtake its UK sales.

The Tregothnan estate, near Truro, has 25 acres of tea plants and grows about one tonne of leaves a year.

Each plant takes six years to mature, so it was always seen as a long-term project when it was begun 10 years ago.

Garden Manager Jonathan Jones said: "It is being taken seriously by tea drinkers all over the world."

'700-year project'

Growing tea in England was considered seriously by Winston Churchill during World War II, but the plants' maturing time of six years meant it was no good for a wartime effort.

Jonathan Jones said: "We took it on more as a 700-year project. Hopefully, we'll still be drinking tea in 700 years."

The estate said its gardens' humidity, sunshine, rainfall and soil PH levels were some of its secret ingredients for its perfect brew.

It said that it also hoped to further strengthen its ties with traditionally tea drinking countries.


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