Windy Hollow Organics Tea Farm Visit

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to visit Windy Hollow Organics Tea Farm and meet Monica Giesbaum, the owner. I stayed overnight at the Crieff Hydro so that I could be there by 9:30am on the Tuesday morning. I would highly recommend the Crieff Hydro to anyone visiting that part of Scotland, as it is a great base to visit that part of Perthshire. The staff were very warm and welcoming and both the food and rooms are fabulous.

Following the sat nav, I negotiated my way to Windy Hollow in Trinty Gask. Upon arrival I was greeted by Monica who met me with a smile and handshake. We went straight down to her growing / making / tasting area, where Monica produces organic and biodynamic Demeter certified Tea and Chamomile Flowers. She also produces the majority of the components required for the biodynamic composts she grows her plants in, namely Yarrow, Stinging Nettle, Dandelion, Valerian which gives the plants their optimal and 100% natural growing conditions to flourish.

As we chatted Monica picked a few tea leaves from the bushes she was nurturing and filled a teacup with shiny new leaf growth. Our discussions were extensive and Monica really is a true expert plantswoman, gardener, grower, farmer and teacher. After picking probably 30grams or so of leaves (a teacup full) we went next door into her completely solar powered tea making area. Four large solar panels basked in the watery Scottish sunshine. Even on the overcast day I was there, they still generated enough power to run two 2400watt ovens, which is no mean feat and a testament to Monica and her families commitment to living off grid and generating the power they need in a sustainable way.

The first stage in making tea is the withering which Monica did in a wok, on a low heat, turning the tea carefully in her cotton gloved hands. The aroma as the heat chased out the excess water in the leaves was delightful and we chatted whilst the tea withered and started to oxidise. Within a few minutes the leaves were a delightful emerald green and Monica stopped the oxidation process by drying the leaves, simply on a baking sheet in one of her ovens. Once dry the tea was removed from the oven and placed on a rack to cool.


We then went to visit the area in which Monica produces her delightful bio dynamic Chamomile. The bushes were in full flower and ready to be harvested, which I believe was Monica’s afternoons task.

The following day having spent the night in one of Monica’s cosy sleeping pods I awoke to birdsong, fresh air and natural beauty. Making my way back to the tasting area I was joined by Monica who informed me that the tea we had made the day before was ready to drink. We brewed, in traditional Chinese manner, the 10 grams or so of tea we had spent two to three hours making the previous day. The result was simply wonderful; creamy, fresh, clean and packed full of the delightful ‘green’ astringency that denotes a well-grown, well-made tea.

I would recommend Monica’s tea to anybody. It was no surprise to me that her first submission of a black tea to The Great Taste Awards resulted in an immediate 3* Award, which is very rare and an honour indeed. I have no qualms in saying that Monica’s teas and her chamomile flowers are world class quality, and if you would like to try them, take a look at the Windy Hollow website here, remember Monica produces the best in very small quantities so there is always a waiting list but I guarantee that the end result would be worth the wait.

You can also follow Monica on Instagram here.

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