Yes, tea cultivation is also a tradition in Europe, in places like the Azores islands and Italy, in the Tuscan village of Sant’Andrea di Compito in the province of Lucca. The history of the first and only Italian tea plantation began in the 1980s, and has become the ultimate expression of interest in a product that has always been seen as a beverage from some other exotic corner of the world.
The success of Italian tea is nothing less than a miracle. Italian tea commenced with the economic boom of the 1960s, when thanks to companies like Ati, tea was finally available to everyone on the mass market. Italians had also started to travel more, getting to know and importing products belonging to other gastronomic traditions. A second important factor came in 1987 when an agricultural specialist from Tuscany decided to realize the dream of cultivating tea in Italy.
The microclimate in this little nook in the Italian landscape proved ideal for camellias, and therefore also for tea as the plant’s scientific name camellia sinensis attests. Today, this producer’s range of teas are all created on location, with plants adapted to colder winters, without artificial fertilisers, or pesticides.