Love was what united a former journalist and a wine producer in the north of Portugal and the result was the creation of the first tea refined in Port wine barrels whose production already flies to Macau in China. The first 40 kilograms of Oolong tea, a category of black tea and green tea, which have been practiced for six months in Port wine barrels for several decades, are exported from an estate in Fornelo, Vila do Conde county.
Small wooden boxes containing 75 grams of that organic product from Asia have recently been exported to various organic and gourmet stores, including Macau, Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, whose sovereignty exercise was exercised by Portugal until 1999.
Each wooden box with this special tea, called Pipa Tea, costs 19 euros, tells the agency Lusa the former German journalist Nina Gruntkowski, 42 years old, who arrived in Portugal a dozen years ago brought here by her love for it, and has created the company Camélia Tea in Fornelo, about two hectares long, where the first green tea of Continental Portugal is being produced, in addition to special teas.
The Pipa Tea should be prepared with water at 90 degrees centigrade, it should be left in the teapot for recommended three minutes, and the plant can withstand three infusions without losing quality, describes the responsible for the creation of the tea, with overtones of port wine.
"My husband [Dirk Niepoort] has a Porto wine company and we use the small barrels of Niepoort wine to stew Oolong tea and tune the taste more," says Nina, noting that they have managed to make the "perfect marriage between two flavors, the one of the tea and the one of the Porto wine ".
Nina Gruntkowski describes the sensation of drinking a Pipa Tea: When it reaches the mouth you will feel a "slight taste of black tea", with aromas of "complex nuts and delicate tannins" after it, and, in the end, it becomes a " prolonged note of tawny Port wine, particularly vintage, because kites were used for old harvests.
The Pipa Tea has two moments more suitable to be tasted, although one can drink throughout the year. One of the moments is the "classic afternoon tea, which can be drunk alone or with a light cake, like sponge cake" and the other moment is at the "end of dinner", instead of Porto Wine, or before this, advises the expert, former reporter of a German radio.
Currently, Oolong tea, which is refined in Porto kites, is imported from biological plantations in China and Taiwan, mainly from a biological planting of the Morimoto family, located on the southernmost island of Japan, near the city of Miyazaki.
"We really like this quality of tea because it fits so well with the flavors of Port Wine," confides the tea connoisseur and manager of Camellia Tea, a company that aims to produce a high-quality Asian-style green tea.
According to Nina, this year they performed a second experimental harvest of green tea 'made in' Continental Portugal and it was perceived that the quality leaving the Fornelo site is "very good".
"Next year, we will have the first harvest on a larger scale," she says, clarifying that it will only be possible to quantify production in five years, when all the plants are of the right size to harvest.
As a final piece of advice, Nina reminds tea drinkers that the golden drop, the last one served by the teapot, should be shared with the guests.