Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mauna Kea Tea Garden & Tea Tasting

Hidden on the rainy slope of Mauna Kea on the Big Island is a family owned and operated tea garden, Mauna Kea Tea. Beautiful lush rows upon rows of Camellia sinensis are being organically grown and lovingly tended by Takahiro and Kimberly Ino. They are determined to utilize environmentally responsible growing methods that include building a healthy soil life and micro cosmos on the farm which promote healthy plants and reduces the occurrence of pest problems with the ultimate goal of producing tea that not only tastes good but also heals the earth and their spirit.

According to Takahiro, "it has to be a comforting and healing place to be. It does not only produce tea. I work with the plants and the land to create an amazing space and time. Other people in the field also have to have positive energy."Following our tour of the Tea Garden, we enjoyed a Tea Tasting provided by Takahiro, a certified Japanese Tea Instructor. His wife, Kimberly, is certified by STI, the Specialty Tea Institute of America (Level 1 and 2).
We sat around the table and watched as Takahiro expertly and proudly prepared his locally grown organic Hawaiian green tea. First we sampled a Green Tea and then two separate steepings of their Premium Green Tea. The Green tea is produced by carefully hand plucking the young shoots of the tea plants. The harvested leaves are hand processed in small batches, gently drying the tea leaves with a repeated rolling process until the leaves are gently twisted and curled. The tea liquor is light yellow to pale golden. The flavor was pleasant, a delicate green. The Oolong tea, prepared in a gaiwan, produces a golden to amber liquor with full body and a very fruity aroma. The floral taste of the Oolong was quite predominant. Little squares of shortbread accompanied the tea tasting.
Mahalo to Kimberly and Takahiro for providing this enjoyable morning visit at their Tea Garden, sharing their love of the land and the leaf. It was a truly memorable experience.


parTea lady said...

That must have been so interesting to visit the tea garden. Those are unusual teapots on the black shelves and what are those squares - a traditional tea treat? Thanks for the link.

Marilyn said...

How special to be able to partake of a tea tasting at the Tea Garden.

Linda J. said...

Oh wow! That was an exciting visit!