Monday, December 22, 2008

My First Tasting of Real Hawaiian Tea

Last November after an excellent family vacation to Maui I posted about genuine Hawaiian-grown tea. The only problem was... I had never actually tasted Hawaiian tea. Until now.

A friend (and former coworker) named Jessica brought a little can of Hawaiian oolong into Teacup (my work) to share with us. She said a friend of hers had bought it on a recent trip to the Big Island.

The can:

I do not know too much about this particular product; in fact, I could not find it on the Hilo Coffee Mill website. I'm betting this is due to very limited supply and that the tea is currently only available for sale on the Big Island.

While researching my original Hawaiian tea post I emailed several farmers who seemed extremely passionate and knowledgeable about their teas. They mainly seem focused on producing small quantities of superb tea for connoisseur buyers. In fact, one farmer claimed that her best tea fetches $1 per gram ($453 per pound). I'm hoping to try her tea next spring when she has fresh tea ready.

The dry leaves of the Hilo Coffee Mill tea (currently the only Hawaiian tea I have ever tasted) are twisted and voluminous. Their colors range from black to orange to forest green. They have a sweet, earthy smell that is reminiscent of fallen Autumn leaves.

The dry leaf:

I'd say this tea was a great introduction to Hawaiian tea. It had a wonderful and complex flavor.
The first flavor most people picked up was intense rich, raw, fresh honey. Beyond that, delicate notes of volcanic minerals, raisins, and tropical flowers could be detected.

The tea soup:

In other news, Seattle is still buried in snow!
Check out what Alanna and I made today:

1 comment:

Rich said...

That is so awesome, I had no idea that Hawaii made tea.

That snowman is huge. I can't believe it snowed that much in Seattle.