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Friday, August 21, 2009

A Unique Tea: Krasnodar Tea


It appears a bit difficult to nail down any current cold hard facts about the tea growing situation in Russia, but ...

What?

Yes, I said Russia.

Tea? Grown in Russia?

Yes.

How unique!

The 5,000-acre Dagomys chai-plantation (growing tea since 1936) is about 30 miles south of *Sochi - one of Russia’s top vacation destinations (Vladimir Putin has a villa nearby). Sochi is located on the coast of the Black Sea and enjoys a sub-tropical climate. Isn't that amazing? Its Krasnodar tea - which reflected the unique microclimate and soil of the region - became very popular in Russia in the 1980s. However, political change greatly affected the operation of the plantation, as Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika led to a long period of neglect. In the last few years, a new management team has taken over the plantation and is aggressively attempting to revive it to its previous state. (Sourced from a May 2007 article in Fresh Cup magazine entitled Russian Tea: a rich brew of culture, flavor and history.)


Mechanical harvesting at Dagomys-chai tea plantation


If anyone knows of a source for this tea, please let me know.

*The mountain range that surrounds and protects the city from the cold northern air is home to world-class skiing. In fact, Sochi has been chosen to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.

10 comments:

Steven Knoerr said...

I just discovered your blog, and I'm glad I did. I'll be searching through your blog posts to see what you've been writing about. What a great tea topic: unusual origin spots for tea. Brilliant, and I'm glad you're writing!

Thank you,

Steven Knoerr
The 39 Steeps

parTea lady said...

Well, that is interesting to hear of a well established tea plantation in Russia. It would be fun to try the Krasnodar Tea.

Angela McRae said...

I had no idea! Thanks as always for the fab research, Denise!

Denise ~ Charleston, South Carolina. said...

Cheers, everyone, and welcome, Steven.

South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild said...

It's good to hear about another tea plantation in a lesser-known place. I'm currently collecting information about tea being grown in Hawaii and Seattle, as well as Russia, eastern Europe and the Middle East.

One bit of information that i found concerns me, though, and that is that the best tea-growing climate in Europe/the Middle East/Russia seems to be on the coast of the Black Sea where the Chernobyl disaster was. That whole area was affected, and while most of the least-affected land has been cleared for human food crops, I have heard that sometimes you can taste chemicals in the tea grown there, particularly Ukraine and Turkey along the coast. I believe that the U.S. FDA regulations are pretty strict so no tea that is actually bad can be sold here, but I wonder if the chemicals are still a problem in the tea gardens there after 20 or so years. I never see Russian or Turkish tea for sale in California, but maybe I would if I looked in the right places. I'd like to try it and see how it's different from Chinese, Indian and African teas.

darahchjan said...

2South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild :

these plantations are more than 1000 kilometers to the south-east from Chernobyl (on the other cost of Black sea).

Chernobyl has caused a radiation pollution, not a chemical one. So, any product can be tested easily by a simple Geiger counter. The Krasnodar region is one of the main agricultural regions in Russia, and probably in Europe. I have never heard about radiation problems here.

Alida said...

If you are in California you can find Russian teas sold in little place called 'Moscow Deli' in the city of Costa Mesa!

Robert said...

I visited the Krasnodar Tea Region. We had a picnic with fresh hazelnuts and bread with apricot jam baked inside it and, of course, the delicious Krasnodar tea from a charcoal fired samovar.

Anonymous said...

the tea is delicious indeed. has a very unique taste. krasnodar is the most northern tea region. and the radiation did not affect russia as the cloud was driven to north west.
too bad you cant buy this tea in germany. only on special events.

Serg said...

I was able to find the Krasnodar tea plants growing in the US and planted 3 bushes this year in my own garden. Someone who worked for the Krasnodar tea manufacturer before the fall of the Soviet Union was able to bring the tea to the US and recreate the unique breed type here.
I live in the Southeastern part of the US and was told that it should adjust very well to the local climate. I have other camellias growing in the garden so I'm anxious to see what the tea is going to taste like after being exposed to other camellias. The taste of the tea has a lot to do with the roasting and fermentation process so I need to find out what the processing technique is in Krasnodar to try to recreate the unique taste. Once I'm able to harvest a sufficient quantity I wouldn't mind sharing the tea with other tea connoisseurs.

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