French Producer of Organic White Tea

After a visit in the amazing Reunion island entered World Heritage Site by Unesco in 2010 2010, French overseas department positioned on Indian ocean between Madagascar and Mauritius, we had the pleasure to savour and find out the only real French production of tea, and organic in addition!

In Reunion Island, tea production isn’t a new thing. It’s been introduced on the Island in 1965 as part of culture diversification. In 1967, renowned tea, the production total 29 tons and 40 tons in 1969 then stopped in 1972.

In July 2005, Johnny Guichard took responsibility of an old exploitation of tea goes back to 1955 and refitted it.Perched at 1 100m altitude at the foot of primary forest of Reunion, the exploitation is located in Grand Coud at the south east of Reunion Island.

The exploitation can boasts being the only tea production of France. However, Johnny Guichard has specialized in organic premium tea under the brand Le Labyrinthe En Champ Th with white tea and white tea-flavoured with many flavours; cinnamon, lemongrass, rosat geranium, lemon geranium, lemon eucalyptus, vanilla, mint, lemongrass.

Family production, the exploitation of organic white tea of 3 hectares produces 4-6 a great deal of organic white tea per year.

Tea Anecdote

Regardless of the conventional wisdom, tea isn’t a shrub but a tree which could achieve 20 m high. It is cut at breast height to allow the collection.
Another idea unknown to the general public, tea plants are grafted together naturally in forest. Their branches intersect and find yourself “merge”.

Production Process

The harvesting of organic white tea from the exploitation is done throughout the year except in June and July.

Tea production as any agricultural crop follows a specific process. The distinctive feature of the exploitation of the Labyrinth is that all step is done yourself.

1 – The first step is the cutting of tea plants.

2 – Tea culture : tea grows until it reaches its size of harvest.

3 – Picking : Once the tea has reached harvestable size, it really is picked by hand. However, not at any time of day, in the morning when the dew is still present.

In Asia, they often times practice imperial picking; only the tiny terminal bud is removed. But white tea harvesting can even be done by fin picking (bud and the two leaves after), that your Labyrinth uses.

4. Drying: tea is naturally dried in a workshop, away from the sun, on crates.

5. Flavour: tea-flavoured on the exploitation is made with different dried plants apart, then, they are blended with the white tea.

6. Grinding : tea is ground yourself.

7. Triage: It is done yourself, the large stems is removed to help keep only the leaves and buds. Nonetheless it mays that thin stems manage to slip into the lot.

8. Packaging and labelling: it is still done by hand. The aim of the Labyrinth in a medium or long-term would be to acquire a machine that can do this work and allow them to pack quicker larger quantities of white tea.


If these operations seem simple what differentiates a good tea to a bad tea.

Like good wine, good tea originates from a good soil. And Reunion Island in Grand Coud gets the essential qualities to make a high-standard tea. Having been fallow for nearly 40 years, the soil is rich. Nevertheless, an excellent soil is a very good start however, not only.

Other determinants components are picking. The harvest time is crucial. The Labyrinth En Champ Th makes this through the morning where the air is still cool and where dew continues to be present.

Then, drying can be important. Tea must be dried during packaging. This step allows an excellent preservation of tea.

Certification In All This

Organic tea and the standard one change lives on the tea quality. The huge benefits are obviously good for the surroundings and this is especially true for the Labyrinth En Champ Th which does not use of chemicals inputs and respects the ecosystem.The tea is better still.

Certified “AB – Agriculture Biologique”, the French exact carbon copy of USDA Organic for US and Soil Association for UK, the exploitation must follow precise specifications and receives one scheduled visit of “AB” auditors once a year and unscheduled visits, 2 to 3 3 checks per year.

The auditors shall audit the seeds, crops and how farmers operate on the tea. The audit is star with a theoretical phase which is verification of specifications and a practical phase on the field.

Also, the specificity of Grand Coud organic white tea is that, anytime, it is treated. The soil is fed with compost from tea plants. Tea is left to grow at its own pace minus the usage of chemical fertilizers and tea fields are left in their natural environment.

The other feature is that we now have no diseases or pests on the exploitation so far, so there is no need of treatment. Also, by manual labour at all stages of tea production, the balance of the ecosystem is preserved.

Moreover, is moving to a production in agro forestry in short-term (tea growing undergrowth) tea plants, being in the woods, will be shaded. One hand, it’ll allow to further increase the quality of tea and also to facilitate the picking.

A Matter Of Taste

White tea is tea, that undergoes minimal processing where are took only the buds and young shoots (leaves, both that follow). This is among the reasons why white tea is a premium tea and has not just a full flavored taste like green tea or black tea.

White tea is known as the best tea but of course everyone has their preferences.

White teas, like all teas, have antioxidant properties, but white tea is low in theine. Because of that that is a light tea which can be appreciated until the evening.

White tea requires an infusion longer than green or black tea (15 mn). The organic white tea from Reunion produces a nice sweetness on the palate that makes it subtle, without any bitterness. Namely, that those who prefer green tea extract to black tea, enjoy more.

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