Drink Local: 8 Hawai‘i-Grown and Blended Teas We Love
Brew up a steaming cup of locally grown (and tasty!) black or green tea.
They may not be steeped in history, but local tea companies taking root in Hawai‘i are creating comforting homegrown drinks and blends with essences of their unique terroir.
Tea farms here produce very limited harvests that are often presold months prior. So check your favorite company’s website early to reserve your batch. Another good place to browse is Tea Chest Hawai‘i, which sells Island brands including Big Island Tea, which does not have an online store.
We rounded up a mix of locally grown and locally blended tea for your table.
Haleakalā Black Tea, Maui Tea Farm
Andrea and Alex de Roode started with seedlings in Kula in 2013. In January, they expanded to a 14-acre farm. The couple’s 100% Maui-grown tea—harvested by hand from plants grown about 4,000 feet up the slopes of its namesake mountain—has notes of caramel, apricot and honey for a smooth, fruity sip.
Ginger and Turmeric Green Tea, Mauna Kea Tea
Taka and Kimberly Ino and their 6-, 10- and 13-year-old children harvest their leaves from their family farm in Honokaʻa. They process it into premium loose leaf and powdered green tea as well as mixing in a variety of other ingredients including Hawaiʻi cacao and coconut. In this blend, Island-grown turmeric and ginger give their organically grown leaves an uplifting kick.
A‘a Black, Big Island Tea
Eliah Halpenny and husband Cam Muir were among the first of the newest batch of local tea farmers in 2001. Now, they continue to grow Camellia sinensis and native plants in a Mountain View forest where the ecological diversity and 400-year-old ash from Mauna Loa in the soil give their small-batch tea its complex flavors.
Māmaki Tea, Oribe
Technically this is a tisane since it is not made from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is processed into green, black and white tea. However, the hot drink from the endemic māmaki plant is said to be cleansing and invigorating. Tim Johnson’s Big Island-based company sources the leaves, as well as organic ginger, ‘ōlena and ingedients, from Waiholokui Gardens on the Big Island for his caffeine-free brew and other blends.
SEE ALSO: Can We Ever Eat All Local in Hawai‘i?
Cacao Tea, Mauna Kea Tea
This mix from Mauna Kea Tea features roasted green tea twigs, local cacao nib powder and other spices. Chocolate lovers will appreciate the rich aroma, though the cacao flavor in the drink is not as powerful.
Kai, Pono Infusions
Blended in Hawai‘i by Maui Tea Farm, this is a mix of organically sourced green and white tea, cornflower petals, lemon balm and nettle leaf.
$10 for 0.75 ounces, mauiteafarm.com
Coconut Green Tea, Mauna Kea Tea
This is Mauna Kea Tea’s best-selling blend for local customers, We can see why. The toasted coconut adds sweet nutty notes to their hand harvested green tea.
Cold Brew Iced Green Tea, Oribe
Big Island-grown green tea and organic sencha in this cold brew results in flavorful tea without bitterness.