Thursday, December 12, 2013

Answer: Tea, in Europe?

As often happens, this turned into somewhat more of a quest than I'd thought.  Excellent work, SearchResearchers!  

In writing this answer up, I've drawn heavily from Miguel's answer in yesterday's comments.  (Thanks, Miguel.  I hadn't planned on you writing in your own answer!)  I've taken most of what he wrote and edited in a few of my own comments.  


My first search was [ europe tea plantations ] - very close to what Ramón, Debbie and Anne, and probably all others did. So I quickly landed on the Inntravel blog. 

{ Dan:  This is how I started too, looked around for a bit, then did [ worldwide tea plantations ] for comparison.  It showed me a few more tea growing locations. } 

When, later on, I submitted a comment, I didn't realize they were a commercial company nor I was thinking to present this as a challenge, yet. I might not have written that comment otherwise. Anyway, it didn't help that much, apparently. And no one from the company thanked me…
{ Dan: I was somewhat surprised to find Miguel's comment on the InnTravel site as well... but I figured it was him leaving a clue! } 

I am a list maniac and I know there are tons of other people like me out there, ready to make lists out of anything. { Dan: This is deeply, deeply true. I'll write about the presence of lists next week... } So once I found the Dagomys and Tregothnan (and I already knew about Gorrana), I figured out that if there was a thorough list of tea plantations in Europe, those three names would have to be there. 

So my next search was a simple [ dagomys | dagomis | krasnodar gorreana tregothnan ]. 

{Dan:  Here, Miguel is using the | (aka "pipe" operator) instead of "OR" -- it means the same thing. FWIW, I would have done this search as tea dagomys OR dagomis OR krasnodar OR gorreana OR tregothnan ] which gives a somewhat broader set of results.  The SERP always includes the word "tea" on the results. 

Turns out the only two pages showing up are the best I could get: a list (in Romanian) and a map (title in French). It helps that I can read Romance languages (that is, those two plus Spanish, Italian and Portuguese). I don't know any Romanian but I can derive some because of its similarity with these others on the same branch. 

Anyway, I used Google Translate to help me understanding that "Ceaiurile din Intreaga Lume" means "Teas of the (Entire) World". Later on, I would use the available Website Translator plugin to get the full translated into English.

The harder question is determining which tea plantation is the northernmost. It's clear that Tregothnan is at higher latitude than Dagomys. Further north there's Eden Project but I wouldn't call that a tea plantation (check ). Pembrokeshire, in Wales (or, more precisely, the Preseli Hills, as remmij found out) is, according to the map guys, not ready yet.  Remmij's news story is from 2009; but follow the link on the map and tada! they're selling tea that they make Then again, what do they mean by "blended by hand"? 

Here's what you can read on the "About" page: "Hand blended in Pembrokeshire using imported and locally grown ingredients." Wait a minute! I bet that those "local ingredients" are dried lemon, rose petals, Bergamot orange oil and so on. No tea, probably. From the map's marker description: "At present we’re in set-up stage with an aim for us to be 100% locally grown by 2015. Beyond this we have a target of 2019 to have our tea gardens matured and able to offer a full range of single estate teas from Pembrokeshire."

Are there any other tea plantations and factories in Europe? Answer:  Yes, in Cornwall (England, UK), Switzerland, Italy, as you've found out, but also in France, Georgia and Turkey.

What about North America? Didn't double-check all the plantations featured on the map but the general answer is undoubtedly yes

Can I have a list? Yes, someone in the Tea and Coffee Shop "Ethiopia" (in Chișinău, capital of Moldova, whose main language is Romanian) is extremely diligent or resourceful, having written this extensive list:

Or better yet, a map of tea plantations around the world? Well, some other list maniac has created and has been updating this world map of tea plantations for the past 6 years.

{ Dan:  This brings up the question about the southernmost tea plantations!  What about those places in New Zealand?? } 

Is the Russian tea plantation near Sochi really the northernmost one in Europe? No.

If not, which one is? At least Tregothnan is at higher latitude. And most likely that's still the northernmost tea plantation. 

{  Dan:  I looked at the other high latitude tea plantations.  The only one that's close to Tregothnan is the one in British Columbia.  But the lat/longs for each are:

     Tragnothan Estate Tea, UK:  50.24048, -5.00548
     Tea Farm in North Cowichan, Canada - 48.8535, -123.7084
making Tragnothan clearly the northernmost. Meanwhile, the southernmost tea is in:

     Waikoto, NZ is at: 
-37.621, 175.06

Under what name(s) is that Russian tea marketed? Дагомысчай (Dagomyschay) is the company (the group, to be precise),Краснодарский чай (Krasnodarskiy Chay) is the brand, as you can see on all the products. Krasnodarskiy means "from Krasnodar." Dagomys is the name of a district 12 km from Sochi center; Sochi, the town, lies in the Krasnodar Krai (region, administrative division).

What is their website's url?

In the meantime, Debbie and Anne have also found another tea company in the greater Sochi region: Matsesta!  

{Dan: They found this by doing a query for [ tea production Krasnodar ], that's the name of the region area of Russia where Sochi is located. With that query they found the name of the company Matsesta and found that the tea is sold under the name "Macesta." }

This means the last two questions were wrongly put. They also claim that "The tea grown around Sochi is grown by about 6 different companies"! 

I thought this would be easier for everybody than it showed to be but it turns out that I was kind of lucky on my search.

Now here's a bonus: I found a map of Europe showing how the word "tea" is rendered in each local language, colored by etymology. Turns out there's only "te", "chay", "herba thea" and our very Portuguese "chá", without the final Y, because it was imported directly from the Cantonese, without having been corrupted by Persian in between.

{ Dan:  Remmij also found an up-and-coming tea plantation in upstate NY - coming in 2014, Lily and Mark Lin of Seneca Falls, originally from Qingtian County, Zhejiang (China) will be harvesting their own, locally grown Finger Lakes tea.  

I went to graduate school in Rochester, NY, not far from this spot. It's a beautiful place--kinda snowy in the wintertime--but I never would have guessed it to be a future tea plantation.  Just goes to show how the most unexpected things can turn up! }


This was a fun challenge.  My mental model of tea was Java and tropical places--I certainly didn't expect tea as far north as Cornwall or British Columbia!  

Thanks again, Miguel!  I think we learned a good deal from this including the power of searching in other languages, the utility of searching for lists, the usefulness of maps, and the value of taking multiple approaches in your searches.  (And, non-trivially, the value of having many people work on a single problem.  One of the outstanding properties of SearchResearch is that all of us working together on this find out things that no one of us would discover on their own.  Truly, this is a fantastic demonstration of the value of diversity.)  

Search on!  

(And muito obrigado to Miguel!) 

Remember, if other folks have challenges they think would be good for the crew, send them to me directly via email.  (You should be able to figure out my email by now!) 


  1. I forgot to mention that, for this particular challenge, I would have used the "Translated Foreign Pages" option in Google Search if Google hadn't shut it down six months ago.

    It's the kind of search where there's a good chance of having research done in languages other than English. When I decided to search [ dagomys | dagomis | krasnodar gorreana tregothnan ], I was already thinking of doing a similar research in cyrillic (I still had to figure out what a transliteration of Gorreana and Tregothnan would be like). Gladly, it wasn't needed.

    1. L´MV, re: ["Translated Foreign Pages 05/17/13"] perhaps the update should have read: "The translate foreign pages feature is no longer offered. Removing features always involves tough choices, but we do think very hard about each decision and its implications for our users. You can still translate entire pages in Chrome. Streamlining enables us to focus on cratering beautiful technology that will impoverish people's lives." :^) harsh, I know, but kinda like hearing: this is going to hurt me way more than it hurts you
      perhaps one day "streamlining" will be omnipresent in all aspects of life.

      kidding aside, that's a useful link, thanks -

      btw: the Michigan tea operation - land of the wolverines

  2. under the heading of search meandering & info foraging: was looking for some infool on Lipton -
    given the involvement in developing tea farms/plantations in the United States and ran across this
    bit of related/unrelated past detritus that I thought might be of interest, especially to Rosemary and
    jon the Un - a different Lipton

    also wanted to note RM's find of Miguel's comment here - thought that was a good piece of sleuthing.

    the way I pictured tea production: (Dan:"This was a fun challenge. My mental model of tea was Java and tropical places--I certainly didn't expect tea as far north as Cornwall or British Columbia! ")
    Gones & peppercorns
    from this list: tea biz

    while checking southern growing locations (had hoped to find a growth experiment at one of the Antarctic stations) ran across this - might explain
    why there may be more northern growth in coming decades - Assam production
    and a bit south of Sochi - Azerbaijan
    a whirl at world-wide producers: Teabulla

    while looking at Argentinean tea operations, ran across this, from Patagonia — found it touching and a reminder of how things morph,
    becoming this, then that, then this again… tea & crumpets & beef ribs - Wales in Argentina, not unlike the Saskatchewan Lipton tale… and who doesn't enjoy a good dragon?(Y Ddraig Goch)… may be of interest to S. George.

    obrigado novamente, to Mr. Viterbo - interesting search topic & informative answer to the extensive 8?s…senhor bem feito!

    fwiw: had hoped Ramón would have discovered a secret tea farm on the slopes of Popo - it is a beautiful cone -
    Popo overhead
    P & Iztaccíhuatl
    ash drift 4/12

    a little further south, from Miguel's map link:
    Los Andes estate
    another potential meetup place - volcanoes & tea
    map list for LMV
    Establecimiento Las Marías
    tea wallpaper

    wandering on, searching a bit, may find focus… or at least, Earl Grey - hot. (seems much Argentine tea ends up over ice - did like Ana Rees's cosy)

    1. Thanks Remmij for the links! In Mexico, sites mentioned that we produce Infusions not tea. Maybe in the future, someone will try and works; but, we have Cocoa Plantation

      Searching for Tea Plantations in Mexico, just in case, found a link that mentions there were in 2010 only 29 certified Tea testers in the world. El francés que renovó los tés en México

      Tea testing: Brewing a Greater Appreciationt

    2. a tea sommelier? JE OOLONG MILKY - that's toward the high end.
      the number seems to be 30 now - 5 in Europe…
      thanks for the heads-up Ramón - don't think I'll be tipping a cup o' that anytime soon.
      Guillaume LELEU

    3. That Leleu fellow seems to be pretty vain and arrogant. The ignorant journalists seem to be enchanted by his vacuous thought and publish rubbish like "only 27 (or 30, or whatever Leleu decides to tell them) certified tea tasters in the world".

      There are indeed tea specialists, tea tasters, tea sommeliers if you must, including a whole aroma and flavor jargon just like for wine. I wouldn't mind applying for such a certificate myself. :)

      Anyway, we must always bear in mind that, on a blind tasting, experts are not necessarily better tasters than ordinary people. Brochet showed more than ten years ago that, given two glasses of the same wine, one coming from a bottle "labeled as a cheap table wine, the other bearing a grand cru etiquette", the specialists described them quite differently. Also, and probably even more stunning, he asked a panel of experts "to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn’t stop the experts from describing the 'red' wine in language typically used to describe red wines." And, guess what, on a later study the same experiment was run with non-specialists, who had better results. (Quotes are from Wikipedia and an article on The New Yorker. You can read the original study, in French, here, or its English translation here.)

      On another note: remmij, thanks in particular for the link to the article about the effects of global warming in Assam.

    4. Hello Dr. Russell, Remmij, Miguel and SearchResearchers! I just want to share a link with information about Cocoa that I found when searching for Tea in Mexico. The Mexico Cocoa Project

    5. Thank you Ramón for sharing your search on cocoa. Sometime ago I saw a documentary about Mexico being the country of origin when it comes to cocoa and it spread out to other countries & Mexico lost its rightful position as the #1 cocoa producing country in the world. I recall this documentary because I was so surprised that Mexico had this distinction. I went looking for the documentary but I found another one instead. Hereś the link to the website with beautiful video. I hope you enjoy it.
      I got a double shot of enjoyment because itś in Español and I love reading, listening and watching anything in
      Español. I understood about 65% of the spoken and 80% of the written. Your comment brought me here and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am watching it a second time. Muchas gracias por el compartimiento y espero disfrute de lo tanto como hice.

  3. Backup link only if my previous message got lost that included 'shortened' link

    1. Thanks RoseMary for the video. I once at University, saw a video from a chocolate brand and how they make their products; including how they take nut from the trees. I asked them to let me copy for personal use but the answer was it is only for teachers. After that, I always love chocolate videos, therefore, thank you!