This is the only place in Europe where tea can be grown. The Azores Islands. Middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The only tea factory and tea plantations in Europe.
Picking of tea leaves starts between April and September. Next there is a wilting - one hour-long rolling process that crushes the tea leafs, followed by fermentation, drying and packing.
Porto Formoso tea factory. Pekoe tea. Tea plantations.
The two existing factories: Gorreana and Porto Formoso produce three different types of black tea. Tea varieties are determined according to where on the bush the leaves are picked from: first there is a orange pekoe, the most flavored one, that comes from the bud and from the first and the youngest leaves. Then there is a pekoe, a less-flavored variety, derived from the second leaf and finally we have a Broken Leaf, the least aromatic of the three with less tannins, that is made from fragments of the remaining leaves.
At the end of the tour one can enjoy a cup of tea in a specially prepared tea-room.
So sit comfortably, grab your cap of tea and enjoy. Certainly you won't find a fresher tea anywhere else in Europe.
We visited the two tea factories during our second visit to São Miguel island. March 2009.