The UK and Ireland are the largest consumers of tea (per capita) in the world. The UK alone consumes 175 million cups of tea per day, 96% of which is made using tea bags. Most tea bags are made with plastic polymners, to prevent the walls of the tea bag from collapsing, and glue to seal the tea powder inside. This means that most tea bags are not fully bio-degradable, and circa 5.8 billion tea bags, some of which are produced using toxic substances, are consigned to UK landfill each year.

Most of the tea consumed in the UK is imported from different parts of the world, leaving a huge carbon footprint in its wake, and much of this tea is produced in regions where environmental regulations are not robust.

UK farmers are subject to robust environmental regulations and are facing increasing financial pressures. As a result, they may need to seek new crops to replace the revenue currently obtained through beef and dairy. 

The UK environment and climate is perfectly suited to the growth of the Camellia Sinensis (Tea plant). The UK also boasts outstanding agricultural research and academic expertise

Arial shot Misc Barry Gamble

The historical Port Eliot estate, set in an area of outstanding natural beauty in South East Cornwall, is home to one of the nations oldest collections of Camelia plants, including the Camelia Sinensis (Tea Plant). The team at Port Eliot have decided to create a National Tea Research Centre.

The aim of the Port Eliot National Tea Research Centre is for the UK to produce 50% of its own tea, for its own consumption, by 2035, and for this to be on a par with the best tea in the world. This tea will be the traditional loose leaf, whole leaf variety which means that simple tea infusers can be used quickly and effectively instead of tea bags. This will see a substantial reduction in negative landfill. Conversely, whole leaf tea is 100% bio degradable and makes great compost! The Port Eliot National Tea Research Centre, promotes environmentally friendly organic farming practices.

In order to achieve these ends; the Port Eliot National Tea Research Center has set aside sufficient space to enable the creation of several organic tea gardens and is inviting applications of interest from academics to investigate all aspects of growing Camellia Sinensis in the UK, through to production and distribution.

Research can include, but is not limited to, its chemical composition (that can determine its taste, yeild and health properties) the effect of different organic fertilizers and the effects of soil types, pests, light, wind and rainfall.

If you would like to know more about the Port Eliot National Tea Research Center please contact mark@porteliot.co.uk.