Aloha and welcome to the taste of an organic white tea grown, harvested and processed in the Native Hawaiian Rainforest on the southeast side of the Island of Hawai`i.
This is a premium tea consisting only of the bud and top two leaves hand plucked and processed to produce a unique tea. It is a blend of 100% Hawai`i Grown yutaka midori, bohea, benikaori and yabukita tea varietals growing at about 1,000 feet above sea level on Hawai`i Island in a native virgin rainforest on the slopes of Mauna Loa in the Puna District far away from pollution.
Pu`u O`o Volcano erupts about 5 miles from the farm and the tea enjoys the naturally acid soil environment. Tea plants like a pH between 4.5 and 6.2. Indigenous microorganisms, the forest shade canopy of ohia lehua trees, abundant rain, mulch, natural fertilizers and careful plucking, all combine to allow us to handcraft a fine white tea with a light and subtle flavor and an abundance anti-oxidants.
Hawai`i Rainforest Tea, established in 2008, produces a healthy tea sustainably in a native rainforest while protecting the forest from uncontrolled overgrowth by invasive exotic species using only organic practices. We received organic certification in 2013.
We obtained cuttings for plants from the Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture (CTAHR) and had the help of a professor of Tropical Ag when we first established and planted our tea. He remains a close friend, a constant resource on plant health and watches the farm when my wife and I travel.
We receive technical assistance from the University of Hawaii College of Pharmacy in researching the chemical nature and nutraceutical characteristics of our tea. Our nine acre farm is in a healthy native rainforest where we must restrict access to huge feral pigs ranging in the rainforest looking for earthworms and wild guava. Three years ago pigs tore up all 7,000 plants and we had to replant them. The tea and the native species of trees, orchids and ferns are growing well together. You may find a few red needle-like petals of an ohia flower in your tea.
Brewing a cup of this tea always takes me back to the forest from which it comes. The first brew is clear and light in color after about 4 minutes of brewing, with a light aroma and aromatic volatiles. I pour this into a tea pot and serve. 70% of the caffeine is contained in the first brewing. I suggest brewing the leaves at least 3 more times. Successive brews are more robust in color and flavor. Because our processing technique does not kill the natural enzymes in the tea, once the tea is wet, it must all be brewed within one day and then either used in cooking or thrown away. Experienced white tea enthusiasts will end up brewing the loose leaves to their own taste. I use a glass coffee press so I can admire the perfect leaves and buds as they brew. 100% Hawai`i Grown Tea does not grow bitter with over-brewing.
HRT Owners Bob & Julie Jacobson