French Producer of Organic White Tea

After a visit in the amazing Reunion island entered World Heritage Site by Unesco this year 2010, French overseas department positioned on Indian ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius, we’d the pleasure to savour and discover the only French production of tea, and organic in addition!

In Reunion Island, tea production is not a new thing. It has been introduced on the Island in 1965 as part of culture diversification. In 1967, renowned tea, the production total 29 tons and 40 tons in 1969 then stopped in 1972.

In July 2005, Johnny Guichard took responsibility of an old exploitation of tea goes back to 1955 and refitted it.Perched at 1 100m altitude at the foot of primary forest of Reunion, the exploitation is located in Grand Coud at the south east of Reunion Island.

The exploitation can boasts being the only real tea production of France. However, Johnny Guichard has specialized in organic premium tea under the brand Le Labyrinthe En Champ Th with white tea and white tea-flavoured with many flavours; cinnamon, lemongrass, rosat geranium, lemon geranium, lemon eucalyptus, vanilla, mint, lemongrass.

Family production, the exploitation of organic white tea of 3 hectares produces 4-6 a great deal of organic white tea each year.

Tea Anecdote

Despite the conventional wisdom, tea is not a shrub but a tree which could achieve 20 m high. It is cut at breast height to allow the collection.
Another idea unknown to the public, tea plants are grafted together naturally in forest. Their branches intersect and end up “merge”.

Production Process

The harvesting of organic white tea from the exploitation is performed throughout the year except in June and July.

Tea production as any agricultural crop follows a particular process. The distinctive feature of the exploitation of the Labyrinth is that all step is done yourself.

1 – The first step is the cutting of tea plants.

2 – Tea culture : tea grows until it reaches its size of harvest.

3 – Picking : Once the tea has already reached harvestable size, it really is picked by hand. However, not anytime of day, in the morning when the dew is still present.

In Asia, they often times practice imperial picking; only the small terminal bud is removed. But white tea harvesting can be done by fin picking (bud and the two leaves after), which the Labyrinth uses.

4. Drying: tea is naturally dried in a workshop, from the sun, on crates.

5. Flavour: tea-flavoured on the exploitation is made with different dried plants apart, then, they’re blended with the white tea.

6. Grinding : tea is ground yourself.

7. Triage: It is done yourself, the large stems is removed to help keep only the leaves and buds. Nonetheless it mays that thin stems have the ability to slip into the lot.

8. Packaging and labelling: it is still done by hand. The aim of the Labyrinth in a medium or long-term would be to acquire a machine that may do this work and invite them to pack quicker larger quantities of white tea.

What Makes A Good Tea

If these operations seem simple what differentiates an excellent tea to a bad tea.

Like good wine, good tea originates from an excellent soil. And Reunion Island in Grand Coud gets the essential qualities to make a high-standard tea. Having been fallow for nearly 40 years, the soil is rich. Nevertheless, a good soil is a very good start however, not only.

Other determinants components are picking. The harvest time is critical. The Labyrinth En Champ Th makes this through the morning where the air is still cool and where dew is still present.

Then, drying can be important. Tea should be dried during packaging. This step allows an excellent preservation of tea.

Certification In All This

Organic tea and a conventional one make a difference on the tea quality. The benefits are obviously good for the surroundings and this is particularly true for the Labyrinth En Champ Th which will not usage of chemicals inputs and respects the ecosystem.The tea is even better.

Punta Cana real estate – Agriculture Biologique”, the French equivalent of USDA Organic for all of us and Soil Association for UK, the exploitation must follow precise specifications and receives one scheduled visit of “AB” auditors one per year and unscheduled visits, 2 to 3 3 checks per year.

The auditors shall audit the seeds, crops and how farmers operate on the tea. The audit is star with a theoretical phase which is verification of specifications and a practical phase on the field.

Also, the specificity of Grand Coud organic white tea is that, anytime, it really is treated. The soil is fed with compost from tea plants. Tea is left to grow at its own pace minus the usage of chemical fertilizers and tea fields are left in their natural environment.

The other feature is that there are no diseases or pests on the exploitation so far, so there is no need of treatment. Also, by manual labour at all stages of tea production, the balance of the ecosystem is preserved.

Moreover, the exploitation is moving to a production in agro forestry in short-term (tea growing undergrowth) tea plants, being in the woods, will undoubtedly be shaded. One hand, it’ll allow to further raise the quality of tea and to facilitate the picking.

A Matter Of Taste

White tea is tea, that undergoes minimal processing where are took only the buds and young shoots (leaves, the two that follow). This is one of the reasons why white tea is really a premium tea and has not a full flavored taste like green tea extract or black tea.

White tea is known as the best tea but needless to say everyone has their preferences.

White teas, like all teas, have antioxidant properties, but white tea is low in theine. Because of that this is usually a light tea which can be appreciated until the evening.

White tea requires an infusion longer than green or black tea (15 mn). The organic white tea from Reunion gives off a nice sweetness on the palate that makes it subtle, without the bitterness. Namely, that those that prefer green tea extract to black tea, enjoy more.

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