Just like tea from the tea plant, the best Greek Mountain Tea is grown at high altitudes and looked after by people who care about nature. It comes from the cultivar Sidertis Scardica, a plant that has long stems and lots of abundant flowers. As the essential oils which give the tea its aroma, flavour and beneficial properties are mostly concentrated in the flowers, this is important.
Also important for the quality of the tea is the role of the producer as every decision he or she makes will affect the quality of the finished tea. The Mountain Tea we sell comes from a small organic farm, located at 900 meters above sea level on Mount Taygetos in the Peloponnese. It comes from young plants that were cultivated just a few years ago by organic pioneer Michalis Bastakos. Having studied agriculture at university and now working as an inspector for an organic certifying agency, Michalis had the idea to use some land belonging to his family to plant tea.
Conditions are hard on the mountain. The soil is of poor quality, the winds are fierce, and the sun can be scorching. For this reason, the land had never before been cultivated and was therefore completely pure and free of chemical residues. As Sidertis Scardica flourishes in the sun and can tolerate almost arid temperatures, it doesn’t need a rich soil, much water or care to survive. Having initially planted 20,000 seedlings, the plants are now established and Michalis can gradually take new sprouts and cuttings to reproduce more plants of the same quality.
The tea is harvested using a hand-held sickle by Michalis, his mother and his brother in June, when the plants are at their peak of flowering. If you notice little black dots in the packs of tea you buy from us please don’t worry, these are seeds that simply show the plants had fully matured before they were harvested.
When we first saw this tea, we were surprised at how green the blooms were – quite unlike any Greek Mountain Tea we had seen in the past. This is because after harvesting, the cuttings are carefully tied up in bunches and hung up to dry in a small, airy, dark room for about seven days. Speed is of the essence here. However tired Michalis might be after a hard day working in the tea gardens, he has to carry out this next step immediately to prevent mould developing. Once the tea has dried, it is carefully stored before Michalis and his wife Penelope pack it into clear bags, ready for us to bring back to Germany to share with you.
Completely natural, Michalis’ Greek Mountain Tea is deliciously light and floral, with hints of citrus. And it doesn’t just taste good: Michalis’ Mountain Tea project is true sustainable farming with a focus on working in harmony with the environment and preserving natural resources.
There are three different ways to prepare and enjoy our Greek Mountain Tea:
For all day drinking: Place three stems of flowers and stalk (break up the stalks) in a large teapot and pour water heated to 90° over it. Leave to infuse for about five minutes.
To get the maximum health benefits: Use a similar amount of tea but brew with boiling water and let it infuse for around five minutes OR boil the tea on the stove for 10 – 15 minutes. Basically, the hotter and longer you brew the tea the more essential oils and flavonoids will be released into the tea.
To enjoy cold: Steep in cold water in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. This method will give you a much more subtle infusion with very fine herbal notes.
OriginMount Taygetos, Peloponnese, Greece
Bodylight to medium
FlavoursLively, floral, citrus
From controlled organic cultivation