The Wee Tea Company

October 16 2014

We are grateful to Tam O'Braan for allowing us to show the Press Release and to
use all his pictures and comments that he sent us. Tam is the person who has made
it all happen

 We are also grateful to Philip Case who has given us permission from the Farmer's Weekly

The Wee Tea Company


         Tam O'Braan the man who makes it all happen

November 19 2014

 Here we have a web address for the first tea sold in UK originating from Scotland

Tam says; 
You may be interested to read the latest coverage of our work?

Click below


Here we have some informative correspondence between Habib Quader and Tam O'Braan on the subject of Tea Growing in Scotland and it's history

October 23 2014

Dear Mr. Quader.
I would have no problem with your sharing our correspondence, but please be aware 9th my fast on fingered style of typing and subsequent typos. Your original email was a breath of fresh air, in part as I'm often in a position where what we have achieved is considered the 'dark arts' of agricultural achievements. Sometimes one can detect what one would have referred to as a healthy scepticism- funny how when it's a weekly occurrence that begins to seem less reasonable, despite it clearly being.
Much of what we do is covered by the press and we have regular visits by TV companies. We've taken to putting these on You Tube and if you want to look up an account by the Tea Growers Association it may interest you.
In the coming months we will put up instructional video on how to make tea from leaf; white, green and black. As well as some of our other techniques for protection of the plans and secondary processes such as cold smoking the finished leaf. I do hope you enjoy these.
We are in ongoing contact with other plantations and this morning I am sat writing this from a London airport some distance from the plantation, about to visit one of the friends we have made in the hand made artisan tea producers.
This allowed me to justify spending yesterday as an invited guests of the Royal Horticultural Society at their London based Lindley Hall. The precise purpose is not mine to broadcast but we received praise for our achievements to date. On behalf of everyone who has worked so hard I found it an honour to accept that praise.
There will be an announcement soon regarding that and I look forward to being able to tell you more. Indeed we are going to enter a season of announcements which will underline the line by Groucho Marks of it taking years if work to become an overnight success.
Until I get another chance to write I remain your humble correspondent.
Best regards
Tam O'Braan - Owner
The Wee Tea Plantation

October 23 2014

Dear Mr. O'Braan ;
I thank you for your taking the time and trouble to write at some length on the reciprocal benefits between my place of birth  and Scotland , a noble thought, - actually Assam, devastated by the Burmese invasion, received much much more from Scotland and the rest of the U.K. than it could ever make a matching return for- shedding at the same time some highly illuminating light on how Scotland could have been a tea-growing country long time ago but for the happy circumstance of the WWII ending. This latter was  not known to me at all and I expect many others of the planting community in India, past and present, will be on the same boat !
If you agree, I would like to share your kind letter in reference with Mr. David Air, Editor of the website, for him to post the relevant extracts for general information. If for any reason you do not wish that to happen I shall fully understand.
With kindest regards,
Sincerely, Habib Quader.    

October 17 2014
Dear Mr. Quader.
Thank you for your kind email and supporting words.
The story of Scotland's association with the place of your birth is long and no one can deny the reciprocal benefits over the years. The idea of bringing the tea-based benefits nearer to us is not mine to take credit for.
Sir Winston Churchill originally asked the UK Ministry for Food as part of a Dig For Victory campaign to consider if it could be done. Plants were propagated and grown on the roof of the Hilton Hotel, with it being the tallest flat roof in London and popular amongst diplomats- so never bombed during World War Two. Those plants were ready to be planted here in the Scottish Highlands when the project came to an end due to the best circumstance, the war ended.
Like myself you're probably wondering why someone didn't continue with it, but we can only imagine the tasks faced by many people's after 1945. Tea rationing was stopped in 1947 and many of the UK's residents stocked up somewhat too quickly. In that first year the country was responsible for buying a third of all tea on the world's Tea Exchanges. Subsequently rationing reinstalled and kept in place until 1953, limiting our weekly quota to 2 just ounces.
In the meantime the head of that particular Dig For Victory project had landed a job as the BBC's first television gardener and like many involved in government business never spoke of his role. The only official record I found of his work was due to the Freedom of Information Act from 2005. Interestingly it noted that the project should be kept secret for 60 years for if the need arose it could be resurrected- such was the perceived effect tea would have on national morale.
I'm glad that you too thought it possible. It was the lack of like minded souls that in part led me to keep quiet until we'd had a clear success. Even here in the glen it was a source of much neighbourly curiosity with my fellow farm owners.
Trusting that you want to keep following us please observe our up-to-date progress at (it is a Facebook page). Pretty soon there will be news on where to buy our single estate teas, other Scottish plantation we've helped start and you may be interested in that or our tea tours start in 2015.
Best regards
Tam O'Braan - Owner
The Wee Tea Plantation

October 17 2014

Dear Mr. O'Braan ;

I've just read, with much interest, on the koi-hai website, the report on tea-growing in the Scottish Highlands. I'm a retired tea planter, originally from Assam, India, now in the U.S. for the last 32 years. I worked for the Assam Company, founded in 1839 by Queen Victoria's Royal Charter, to pioneer tea-growing and manufacture in India. Many of my contemporaries in Assam tea were from the U.K. I've often wondered why none of the planters from Scotland had considered growing tea, of the kind - C. Sinensis - grown in the cold Himalayan foothills of Darjeeling, in the Highlands of Scotland !

I congratulate you on launching your pioneering tea-growing venture in Scotland and wish you all  success. Judging by the pictures that came with the report what you've achieved in just 3 years is certainly much more than "a storm in a tea cup" !!

Yours sincerely, M. Habib Quader.

Press Release

On Behalf of The Tea Growers Association:


Scotland’s first tea plantation was launched in 2011 at a former sheep farm named Dalreoch in the Scottish highlands near Amulree.

With the propagation of an initial 4,000 Camellia sinensis (tea trees) from cuttings, off an initial three stock of mature trees bought from Italy. The idea was to grow plants in Scotland’s Highlands which were able to become hardy enough in their nature to survive -11C for a couple of weeks every year, as well as the harsh winds and short growing season.

Using this original version of Camellia sinensis (originally Chinese) is hardier than the Camellia japonica (originally Japanese) or Camellia assamica (originally Indian) which represent all of the teas grown globally. In their first year all plants survived the severity of Scotland’s worst winter in 100 years with some nights being as cold as -15C.

The resulting tea was also considered to be superb and of international interest to tea experts globally. Japanese, Chinese, North American and European tea experts descended upon a modest farm to taste what is considered to be a world class tea, sold for a multiple of hundreds of pounds per Kilo. The consensus of the fine quality of the tea lead to an offer to purchase the Farm outright, but the owner wanted to develop the idea further. With accepted agronomy techniques of growing from cuttings the plantation growth year-on-year was more than treble to the +12,000 plants presently offering a harvest.

That ‘flush’ (tea industry jargon for a harvest) starts in February and ends by September, but now yields 900-1,100 Kg per Hectare. Even at the lowest price of GBP9.00 per Kg the level of value could offer an alternative to C.A.P. dominated sheep farming.

Northern Irish Plantation Owner Tam O’Braan convinced this was an alternative form of agronomy for hill farming.

"We knew that if we didn’t share what had been achieved we’d be limiting the capability this offers and did not want to be that selfish. It’s an industry, not just one farm."

In 2013 The Tea Growers Association was formed, but although interest was high the only member was Tam’s initial business. "Healthy skepticism was keeping others back from jumping in and maybe looking foolish. In fact locally my name was changed to Typhoo Tam in conversations. Many were waiting for me to fail and walk away"

The venture was more serious than that and lead to specific projects with East Riding Crop Research in Kent and ongoing support of the RHS.

The sea change started early in 2014 and after coverage on BBC Radio Scotland by Mark Stephen from the Out Of Doors program. The reclusive Mr. O’Braan was caught off guard in a mess up over schedules and for the first and only time gave an interview directly. Somewhat reluctant to continue to appear foolish, he discussed his true aspirations as a partial alternative for highland hill farmers, which he really thought should be taken more seriously.

Over the past year enquiries rolled in from variously (mainly) Scottish growers, herb specialists, market gardeners and even Royal Estates, and so the decision was made to pool resources and

create a support network that could allow for more than one business to exist. A Tea Growers Association was registered as a not-for-profit organization where problems and solutions are shared, as well as pooling purchasing power. Highland schools have also joined to create learning forums for the children of the farming community to open to new ideas in young minds. Lochgilphead Joint Campus (next to Loch Fyne in Angus) have already planted their own tea garden in August, using a quiet end of the school’s large grounds..

"Plans are even underway for tea tours starting in the spring of 2015- much like the Scottish Whisky tours that are so popular, but with more emphasis on sobriety!" Said Tam the now Chairman of the Tea Growers Association.

A selling co-operative is also underway through the Tea Growers Association which members can choose to use whatever weight of leaf they do not sell directly as Single Estate teas. To date members include the Scone Estate (Perth), Scot Herbs (Dundee), Garrocher Market Garden (Stranraer) joining forces with the Dalreoch Plantation (Kinross) and selling their finest wares to the finest retailers in the world and an ongoing agreement to sell their lower standard teas to The Wee Tea Company- a Scottish loose leaf specialist wholesaler.

As of next February this confederation of growers will be working as one to build upon this initial success, but are welcoming others to enquire and visit the original site to see for themselves that it’s more than a storm in a tea cup!


96% of the world’s tea is sold in tea bags – retailed typically at GBP20/ Kg.

96% of the world’s teas are sold by two firms – purchased as leaf at GBP9.00/Kg..

4% of the world’s tea is high-end loose leaf, bought & sold at GBP200-GBP2000/ Kg.

The UK drinks 165 Million cups of tea a day.

The Tea Growers Association (founded 2013) is a Not-For-Profit trade body. It’s articles of association are to further the tea growing industry within the UK, assist with technical advice through group forums and crowd source materials, equipment and resources to reduce the costs for all members. Membership is free and selling any tea back as a co-operative completely optional.

Tam O’Braan (M.Sc. Chem.) has worked in Dutch, French, EU, Australian, Brazilian and North American agronomy projects for trade organisations, governments and NGO’s.


Contact; Tam O’Braan – 01350 725745 or 07538863390


Date 28 September 2014

 Below are some photos telling the story and the progress--thanks to Tam O'Braan

Strathblaan Glen


Tam's early Start


Early Dalreoch



Tips of Scottish plant



 Dalreoch Buds


Dalreoch Leaf


Cold smoke curing

Dalreoch Plantation Panorama


Wee Tea Company packs at Dalreoch