Ilgora Herriko Tea


Ilgora Herriko Tea

Pays Basque

Mikel Esclamadon

Mikel discovered tea growing on a trip to the Azores Islands in 2019. As the local climate was suitable for the plant, he decided to plant his first seedlings in 2020 in the Basque country near the family home. A winning bet! In 2023, he launched his first high-quality tea bags under the Ilgora name which means "rising moon" in Basque language.

Born in the Basque Country, Mikel grew up in Bayonne and then Ustaritz. After studying biology, the environment and viticulture, in 2019, during a trip to the Azores, he discovered a tea plantation. Would this plant, which he thought "exotic", grow in our latitudes?

The Basque Country, like the Azores, meets the necessary conditions for this crop. Tea bushes seem to thrive on acidic, steep soils that are often abandoned and require no chemical treatment. This fulfils all Mikel's values.

The adventure begins in autumn 2020, with the first 900 seedlings found at Alain Thoby's home in Mazamet. These seedlings are very winter-hardy. After the final plantings in spring 2023, the plantation now comprises 5,500 plants on 1 hectare of land. This is a small, low-density plantation, allowing each seedling to flourish between forest and apple orchard.

In addition to living his dream of being a farmer, Mikel wants to cultivate the land in a healthy way, diversify the crops grown on his land, offer a high-quality tea and make a living from his activity with a small surface area. He adheres to the Idoki farm label, which defends peasant agriculture that respects the land and its inhabitants. He offers three types of tea: white, green and black. All our teas are hand-picked, so that only the bud and first leaf are harvested.