The cultivation of plants and herbs is a long-standing tradition in our Territory.
Before Alvarinho became the most widely grown crop, the people of Monção and Melgaço would tend to plots of herbs in their own backyards to be used for infusions and culinary purposes. At Soalheiro, our line of herbal teas pays respect to this time-honoured tradition, as well as our terroir, bringing the flavours of our region to homes and hearts near and far.
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How it is made?
The production of our herbal teas respects the integrity of each plant.
Our teas are certified organic and are produced using a delicate process that yields top-quality products while minimizing waste.
Careful selection of plants, optimal harvest time, and a low drying temperature ensure that the leaves maintain as much of their essential oils as possible. This results in teas that uphold the natural aromatic and therapeutic properties of each distinct plant. These properties can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle, promoting a sense of well-being cultivated from the soils and traditions of our region.
Our herbal teas begin with an intricate selection process
We begin with hand-selecting the best cultivars of each species. We propagate several cultivars of each plant, subjecting them to the natural conditions of our Territory, but they do not all make the final cut.
The ones that reach our fields are selected based on important criteria: adaptation to our climate and soil, highest concentration of essential oils, and best aroma and flavour profile. These selections are then cultivated, resulting in a final product that best expresses the full potential of each herb.
Harvest occurs when essential oils are at their highest
We harvest the plants for our infusions by hand as to minimise damage to the leaves. Harvest occurs at the optimal moment- when essential oils are at their highest and best retained. The date of harvest for each plant falls when their essential oils are most concentrated, but the time of day is just as important.
Picking the plants in the early morning ensures that we do not lose any concentration of flavour. These oils are very volatile, and can evaporate quickly in warmer temperatures, so the cool morning air provides the perfect conditions for picking leaves that best retain each plant’s natural properties.
Our plants are dried at low temperatures
Following harvest our herbal teas are quickly moved to the drying area to prevent any oxidation, which can damage the plant’s natural aromas and flavours.
Here, the leaves are slowly dried at low temperatures (never higher than 25°C) in conditions with constant air circulation. Each plant is dried at specific temperature and humidity conditions that will best express its potential.
By drying under such controlled conditions, we slowly remove water without losing volatile compounds, which are important for the aromatics of the final product.
We do a final selection by hand
Once the plants have dried the final selection process begins.
We carefully remove the stems using a manual sieve, which also allows us to separate the leaves by their size without damaging them.
Each product in our line of herbal teas calls for leaves of a different size. In our metal tins you will find the largest whole leaves, in our doypack bags the medium to large leaves, and in our tea bags the smallest pieces for the best functionality.
Following the sorting and destemming process we do the final selection by hand. We choose the best quality leaves and remove any remaining stems or oxidized pieces, leaving an authentic expression of our terroir.