Spring is upon us. With the change in seasons, we can start thinking about all the exciting things that come with warmer weather. Here at REAL Kombucha, Spring is our favourite season as the tea harvest officially begins. In this article, we will be looking at what exactly the tea harvest is, how to harvest tea leaves, and the tea we use to brew and ferment our range of premium kombuchas.
What Is The Tea Harvest In March?
Now is the time that the tea used to create our REAL Kombucha range starts to be harvested. For those who don’t already know, there is a larger variation in the times that Chinese teas are harvested due to just how vast China is. Whilst the harvest season for certain teas is in March, harvesting can extend right through to late November, depending on the variety of leaves.
Millions of people rely on a soothing cup of tea to relax or rejuvenate themselves; here at REAL we get extremely excited about the tea harvest as we use such a range of interesting and delicious teas. The entire REAL Kombucha range is brewed from hand-picked, loose-leaf teas which have been carefully selected from small gardens all around the world. Our team works closely with our very own tea expert and has experimented with over 150 teas to develop our individual brews. Given their complex flavour, our fermented sparkling teas, unlike most non-alcoholic drinks, pair extremely well with a wide variety of foods.
How To Harvest Tea?
Where, when and how tea is harvested typically depends on the variety. Most commonly, tea is harvested by hand;we pick just the bud and the first leaf from the plant within the first 3-4 weeks of the beginning of the growing season.. When harvesting tea, it is also common practice to take a portion of the stem on which the leaves have grown. This is to prolong the overall freshness of the tea leaves.
There is also variation in the timing of the harvest, for example, Dragonwell tea, used in our Dry Dragon Kombucha, is picked at different times throughout the harvest to deliver different tasting notes. Earlier Dragonwell leaves are usually lighter in flavour and smell with a long, sweet aftertaste. Later harvests are however a lot stronger and have a far more pronounced aroma; while the texture is a little more subdued the sweetness is more balanced.
In contrast, the Darjeeling harvest begins in mid-march and progresses through a quartet of distinct seasons known as ‘flushes’. Grown in the mountainous region of the lesser Himalayas in northern India, near Darjeeling, this high-quality tea is grown and harvested on sunny hillsides with a view of the world’s third-highest mountain, Kangchenjunga.
What Varieties Of Tea Do We Use In The REAL Kombucha Range?
As we’ve already mentioned, our Dry Dragon Kombucha uses Dragonwell tea leaves, hence the name! Harvested from the Zhejiang Province in China, the fresh Dragonwell leaves are wiped around a piping hot wok to stop any natural oxidation in the early process. Unlike typical Japanese Green Teas, Dragonwell has a distinct nutty, straw-like flavour.
Royal Flush is brewed using First Flush Darjeeling tea. Fondly nicknamed the ‘Queen of Teas’ in India, the First Flush Darjeeling has a delicate character and is harvested during the first bloom of spring. With musky-sweet tasting notes, similar to muscat wine, this tea is richly fragrant and creates a brew that is fresh and floral. The tea alone develops notes of rhubarb, white peach, and a touch of blackcurrant while fruit and spice flavours round out the acids to make it soft and delicate.