An estate owned by descendants of the 19th century British aristocrat for whom Earl Grey tea was named is turning history on its head by selling English tea to China. The Tregothnan estate in the southwestern English county of Cornwall started selling tea from its tiny plantation in 2005 and last year produced about 10 tons of tea and infusions. Current owners (and residents) of Tregothnan, Evelyn and Katharine Boscawen think they’ve found a niche to exploit in exporting English tea to China and India. The long history of immersing tea leaves in hot water for a refreshing drink is not lost on the Boscawens. By the Victorian Era, taking tea had become a regular ritual at almost every level of society from elaborate afternoon tea for the rich in country houses to tea and gruel for the working poor as depicted by Charles Dickens.Tregothnan has projected 2013 sales to be $3.14 million, a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the world’s largest black tea exporter, Kenya, predicting $1.33 billion in sales for 2013. — Paula Nelson ( 26 photos total)
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