Hawaii Tea With Aloha
As of 2011 there were 19 documented growers of Camellia sinensis 14 formed as a business and 10 producing and marketing products under their own brand. Since this time the number of documented growers has increased due to investments from individual growers and state-funded projects. The number of marketed products has not increased as most of the new growth is young and new growers need time to develop their processing skills.
Hawaii Grown Tea is available for online retail throughout the year direct from Hawaii Tea & Company, Mauna Kea Tea, Hawaii Rainforest Tea, and Onomea Tea. Other gardens make their tea available through limited wholesale or local retail.
Myth #: No One In The Us Knows How To Grow Tea
Perhaps critics will concede that the US has a suitable climate for tea.
Still, theres neither local knowledge or expertise required to actually grow tea on a meaningful scale, so theres no point in trying, goes the myth.
This myth partly stems from the belief that a plant that yields such a magnificent productglorious tea in the cupcertainly has to be a supreme challenge for mere mortals to grow.
And there is also no end of marketing noise that promotes the image of C. sinensis as a botanical Holy Grail that only reveals its secrets to a chosen few.
The truth, however, is that tea is not a mystery plant.
The requirements of tea for nutrition, sunlight, and water are pretty similar to most other long-lived tree species, including the closely related flowering camellia that is grown all over North America.
Give tea camellia plenty of water, healthy soil, and a proper balance of macro and micronutrients, and itll probably thrive.
In other words, there is no specialist knowledge required to grow tea successfully.
And heres the state of tea-growing expertise in the US.
Tea was first imported from China to the Southeastern US in the late 1700s by the legendary French botanist Andre Michaux. In the two centuries after Michauxs contribution, tea from other regions has been imported, cultivated at scale, and made into finished tea.
Tea experts on the Hawaiian Islands are also sharing their knowledge of the craft with growers on the continent.
What Are Popular Tea Flavors In America
Most of the tea in America, about ¾, is consumed iced. It wasnt up until 30-40 years ago that loose leaf tea and regular tea in general started to gain more popularity among tea drinkers. The interest for hot tea and loose leaf tea significantly grew in the last couple of decades as different types and blends became more available.
Today, some of the most popular flavors are traditional teas from around the world, green and black teas, and herbal and fruity blends. Interestingly, in the past green tea was the more popular type for making sweet iced tea. Only later it was replaced by black tea, in a drink called Russian Tea cold black tea served with ice, sugar and lemon.
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Myth #: Its Too Hot To Grow Tea In The Us
Just as the US cold is extreme, so too is the heat.
Anyone who has spent a summers day on the Gulf coast can appreciate how stressful an ordinary 93°F day can be. And if you live in a desert area, its not only hot but also very dry.
In my tea garden, located in plant hardiness zone 8b, heat stress can at times be an urgent concern.
For example, I have seen daytime temperatures at or above 95°F induce yellowing of leaves which in turn weakens plant defenses against blights such as anthracnose.
Recent plantings of young seedlings are especially vulnerable to the stresses that come with high temperatures.
So this much is true: throughout much of the US, high heat is no joke.
Fortunately, however, the solutions to high temperatures in the tea garden overlap with those that mitigate the cold.
US tea farmers can deploy temporary, artificial shade during heatwaves. Hoop-house structures for cold protection can be converted to shade houses with fabrics of varying levels of light transmission.
The Japanese already use shade cloths over C. sinensis grown specifically for matcha.
Another solution to high temperatures is to deploy permanent shade. For example, evergreen tree species such as pines can be planted among tea to provide a protective umbrella during both cold and warm seasons.
Though many varieties are deciduous during winter, fruit trees installed amongst tea provide the benefits of both summertime shade and also provide a companion crop.
Any Tea Grown In The Usa
by Ric» Aug 26th, ’05, 00:04
by spautz» Aug 26th, ’05, 03:04
by Ric» Aug 26th, ’05, 19:28
spautz wrote:There’s only one tea plantation in the US: Charleston Tea Gardens. They were purchased by Bigelow a few years back, and the tea is now sold as “American Classic Tea” — bagged only, unfortunately. You can order it online, and it’s available at various stores in Charleston and the surrounding area. I have friends who swear it’s superior to other grocery store bagged teas, but to my tastebuds it’s still noticeably inferior to loose tea.
by teaisme» Dec 10th, ’09, 16:09
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Myth #: If It Was Easy To Grow Tea Then Everyone Would Do It
The first myth about growing tea in the US is the most pervasive.
The argument is that because we dont see lovely hedgerows of tea in every suburban front yard, or because there are no mega-sized tea farms on prime American farmland, then there must be something inherently forbidding about tea cultivation.
First, a general point that needs to be stated: All kinds of farming and gardening are challenging on some level and regardless of the crop.
Growing a productive stand of corn is no easy feat, nor is bringing apple trees to bear.
If you have any experience in the garden then you know how frustrating it can be to keep your plants happy and productive.
And the fact that there are entire industries of agriculture consultants offering guidance for hire attests to the supreme difficulties often faced by farmers.
Indeed, if there were no obstacles to success, then thered be no point in gardening. Wed have everything we needed, served up a la carte from Mother Nature.
The truth about my specific experience with tea farming is as follows.
It has taken many years of effort and quite a few failures to get to where I am with my tea garden. But I started from scratch, with only a limited background in horticulture and no experience at all in tea culture.
I can attest that it is indeed difficult to start a new farming endeavor without mentors and traditions to lean upon.
How Is Tea Harvested
Tea plants must reach an age of three years before leaves can be harvested for tea use. Tea is harvested mainly by hand because it preserves the quality of the leaves. Machines were used for many years, but tea growers found they were too rough and damaged the delicate tea leaves. Harvests typically occur twice per year. The first harvest is known as the ‘first flush’ and occurs each spring. The second harvest takes place in the summer and is referred to as the ‘second flush’.
The plants are constantly pruned throughout the year by picking just the top two leaves and buds. This keeps the plants in early growth stages, promotes new shoots, and maximizes harvest outcomes.
Tea harvesters work by had to remove the tea leaves and place them in large wicker baskets. Once the baskets are full, they are transported to a tea processing plant on the tea plantation. Tea processing centers are located on site because the leaves begin to undergo oxidation as soon as they are harvested. Different levels of oxidation are the key to different types of true teas.
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Artisan Tea Production & Labor
Then you have artisan tea, which does fetch very high prices if youve the right soil conditions, and if grown and processed correctly. However, artisan tea is very labor intensive, thus it would be better to produce artisan tea in countries with suitable climate and low labor cost.
Machines cant replace all the processing steps of artisan tea. Especially picking tea leaves based on a specific specification , cant be done precisely by machines today.
This is why the United States produces lots of soybean and mais, because these can be produced more efficiently with less labor.
Besides, artisan tea production is more seasonal compared to commodity tea. Thus, it would require seasonal workers. Generally artisan tea is harvested during Spring time . Finding seasonal tea pickers and processors is a bigger challenge in the US relative to many Asian and African countries.
How Specialty Tea Is Produced
Theres a ton of debate around what constitutes “specialty tea,” but the brews that fall into this category tend to be loose-leaf, fair-trade, and/or grown on small tea estates.
Though the most popular tea typesblack, green, oolong, and whiteall come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which leaves are picked and at what time of day may differ for each. Green tea requires the top two leaves and bud of one stem. For black and oolong, you might pick anywhere from two to four leaves down, where the leaves are older and drier, capable of withstanding more robust processing and imparting a different flavor from the younger leaves. Pickers must be quick but careful, and willing to stand in direct sunlight for hours at a time. Its exhausting work, and during picking season, its constant, from sun-up to sundown.
When I meet them, Jason is leaning against the refrigerator, joking and gesticulating wildly. Broad-shouldered and welcoming, he’s the face of the companygiving tea consultations, marketing their products, and traveling to far-off places like Ilam, Nepal, to learn from experts.
Timothywho, as a child growing up on the Mississippi coast, wasn’t allowed to drink sweet tea because it made him hyperactivejust likes to be with his plants. Hes a doer, not a talker, but still quietly funny: Every now and then, when Jason is talking and Timothy is operating the roller, he deadpans to an invisible camera.
How, then, have Timothy and Jason overcome these hurdles?
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Here’s The Buzz On America’s Forgotten Native ‘tea’ Plant
The increase in U.S. tea farms doesn’t mean there is an increase in domestic tea production yet. It takes at least three years for Camellia sinensis to mature to harvest. The 12 acres of tea that Miller planted in 2016 won’t be processed until at least 2019.
In Pickens, S.C., Steve Lorch is brewing tea from 400 Camellia sinensis busheshe planted in 2009. All of the WinterLeaf Cold Harvest Green tea he’s produced at Table Rock Tea Co. sold out in preorders.
“As soon as people heard we were making tea, the orders started coming in we didn’t even hit the Web store with it,” recalls Lorch.
Tea made from Minto Island Tea Co. leaves.
Table Rock is ramping up production. Lorch planted 7,000 Camellia sinensis bushes last spring and is in the process of clearing an additional 12 acres to put into production. He is so confident about the retail market for domestic tea, he plans to plant 17,500 additional tea plants per year for the next several years, which translates to about 5,000 pounds of tea.
“We’ve known from the beginning that we’d sell all of the tea we made,” Lorch explains. “There is a strong niche market for U.S. grown tea.”
But the wholesale market, he believes, will be more challenging.
“A Sri Lankan picker gets $3 to $5 per day,” says Lorch. “U.S. grown tea is a lot more expensive. You won’t see 100 bags of domestic tea selling for $2.50. It’s a high-end, artisanal product.”
Lets Talk Tea: The Southern
Though you dont hear about them often, Southern-grown teas seem like they should be much more of a thing. After all, they come from a plant in the same family as those decorative Southern camellias, fall-blooming sasanquas and the winter-blooming japonicas we love so much. But C. sinensis is the only variety of camellia to have caffeine in its leaves, and in the South weve been growing Camellia sinensis and making teas from its leaves since Colonial days.
Making tea requires more than just being able to grow the plants. The leaves have to be harvested and properly handled to make the drinking teas we love. Heres a little history of tea in the South and a look at whats to come as the worlds most popular drink becomes more local to Southerners.
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Additional Processing And Additives
After basic processing, teas may be altered through additional processing steps before being sold and is often consumed with additions to the basic tea leaf and water added during preparation or drinking. Examples of additional processing steps that occur before tea is sold are blending, flavouring, scenting, and decaffeination of teas. Examples of additions added at the point of consumption include milk, sugar and lemon.
Tea blending is the combination of different teas together to achieve the final product. Such teas may combine others from the same cultivation area or several different ones. The aim is to obtain consistency, better taste, higher price, or some combination of the three.
Flavoured and scented teas add aromas and flavours to the base tea. This can be accomplished through directly adding flavouring agents, such as ginger, cloves, mint leaves, cardamom, bergamot , vanilla, and spearmint. Alternatively, because tea easily retains odours, it can be placed in proximity to an aromatic ingredient to absorb its aroma, as in traditional jasmine tea.
Tea ceremonies have arisen in different cultures, such as the Chinese and Japanese traditions, each of which employs certain techniques and ritualised protocol of brewing and serving tea for enjoyment in a refined setting. One form of Chinese tea ceremony is the Gongfu tea ceremony, which typically uses small Yixing clay teapots and oolong tea.
Bottled And Canned Tea
Canned tea is sold prepared and ready to drink. It was introduced in 1981 in Japan. The first bottled tea was introduced by an Indonesian tea company, PT. Sinar Sosro in 1969 with the brand name Teh Botol Sosro . In 1983, Swiss-based Bischofszell Food Ltd. was the first company to bottle iced tea on an industrial scale.
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Where Are Tea Grown
Tea is mainly grown in Asia, Africa, South America, and around the Black and Caspian Seas. The four biggest tea-producing countries today are China, India, Sri Lanka and Kenya. Together they represent 75% of world production.
Herein, where is tea grown in the US?
Tea production in the United States. Although Camellia sinensis can be grown in warmer parts of the United States, currently the US mainland has only two commercial tea gardens: a relatively large, fully mechanized plantation in Charleston, South Carolina and a small operation in Burlington, Washington.
Likewise, which country is No 1 in tea production? China. Tea growing Provinces in China. Click to enlarge. China is the #1 largest producer of tea in the world, at 2,473,443 tonnes, and also has the most land devoted to tea growing, at 2,224,261 hectares.
Simply so, how is tea grown?
The tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, can be grown almost anywhere. The best teas are grown in cooler climates and/or at higher elevations. Once the tea plant has reached maturity the leaves can be harvested from it for many years. The first is to preserve the tea by driving most of the moisture from the leaves.
What is a tea growing region?
Most tea producing areas are located between the latitude of 40° degrees North and 40° degrees South. The plant grows best in subtropical climates or tropical zones . The best qualities are harvested at a higher altitude between 600m-1800m.
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Other Regions United We Stand
Fearless growers in other regions have also established their position in the U.S. grown tea industry. This includes Light of Day Organics in Michigan, Finger Lakes Tea in upstate New York, and Michael Fritts of Golden Feather Tea near Oroville, CA.
Some may argue that these gardens are not feasible due to the cold, harsh winters in Michigan and New York or the alkaline soil of Northern California, but these growers are defying the odds and showing the resilience of the Camellia sinensis plant. Finished tea from these gardens is not yet available for retail sale, but look out soon as these gardens are planning on bringing a high quality tea to the market at scale in the coming years.
Now that tea gardens have been established and products have started to enter the market, the industry will need to put more focus on quality and developing an awareness of terroir for each of the U.S. growing regions. Prices for U.S. grown tea will remain on the high side as the demand far surpasses the supply, but as the novelty of the product fades and supply increases, quality will become the top concern for producers that want to maintain a higher price to cover the higher cost of production in the U.S. compared to all other growing regions. Exploring the world of U.S. grown tea is an educational experience for tea lovers of all level because it exemplifies the simplicity and art of tea.
note that this article was previously published on September 30th, 2014
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Sri Lanka 340230 Tons
Tea has been grown throughout the island since 1860. But mainly grown in the mountain ranges to the south. Sri Lanka has become the fourth largest producer of tea globally producing up to 340,230 tons per year.
Trademarks are held by the Sri Lanka Tea board for a number of high grade tea regions such as Nuwara-Eliya, Uva and Kandy. With other areas producing the arker grade teas. Both areas using orthodox and CTC methods for manufacture.