The cultivation of tea was introduced in the Azores by Jacinto Leite in about 1820. Jacinto started the first plantation in his native São Miguel using seeds brought from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where he was stationed as Commander of the Royal Guards in the court of Dom João VI. During the 19th century the decline of the orange trade in São Miguel caused a growth in tea production. The Sociedade Promotora Micaelense (São Miguel’s Marketing Society) was largely responsible for this shift in production and tea production reached its peak in the 1850’s with about 250 tons produced from 300 hectares.
The first world war and custom policies that protected tea from Mozambique severely affected São Miguel’s tea industry. By 1966 there remained but 5 of the original 14 tea manufacturers. The Gorreana Tea Factory has used hydroelectricity in its manufacturing process since 1920 taking advantage of a stream that runs through their property.