Tea making blends in well on Kerrera

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Tea maker Rowan Glen has been helping sooth lockdown stresses from south of Scotland across the UK and as far away as America.

Online sales of Rowan’s home-blended Sea Tea, made on Kerrera, have spiked during the pandemic with beverage-drinkers seeking a sip of island life solace.

Orders have winged their way to several states in the US and across Europe, including Germany and the Sea Tea has a big following in the Central Belt and down in England.

‘I think at a time when people could not get away, they just wanted a taste of somewhere they remembered visiting or would like to visit,’ said Rowan, who lives on  the family-run Ardentrive Farm.

It was a project while on a horticultural course at Argyll College that Rowan first struck on the idea of making her own herbal teas, spending some time during her studies on Liz Gibson’s tea croft on Mull.

‘We had to design a garden and I decided to do one based on what you could make teas with,’ she explained.

Wild thyme, nettles and other organic botanicals are among the ingredients she forages as well as gorse, rose petals and abundant dulce seaweed with plans in the New Year to build a new polytunnel and bigger growing beds to harvest more Kerrera produce for her range.

News to see if she can access Highlands and Islands Enterprise funding is awaited for the commercial polytunnel, she says.

With six blends of tea in the pot so far, there are lots more recipes to try out and test on her loyal band of tea tasters made up of family and friends on stand-by to give the thumbs up or down.

‘People of the Highlands and islands used wild botanicals in teas and remedies for thousands of years before black tea hit our shores. I love that herbal tea is growing in popularity again and I’m excited for us to reconnect with our native plants,’ she said.

Rowan has also come up with an exclusive new blend of tea being sold as part of a crowdfunding campaign to help turn the island’s former school into a community centre. Go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kerrera-old-school to find out more.

Another project on the horizon to bring a sense of calm to tea drinkers is a soothing night time blend.

‘There is a lot of people who are having trouble sleeping right now, so I’d like to come up with something to soothe them at bedtime. I’ve got lots of ideas – it’s going to be an exciting year ahead,’ added Rowan, who delegates the label designs for her tins to her graphic design partner.

 

Caption: Time for tea: Rowan Glen with son Ferris and partner Robert Wright. NO_T49-Kerreratea