A statewide delegation of tea growers from Hawai`i Island, Maui and Kauai will be introducing the Hawaii grown tea industry to the mainland and world specialty market next month.
Project director Eva Lee, coordinator of the Hawaii group of delegates attending the World Tea Expo, says this group of tea producers and professionals from the University of Hawaii at Manoa CTAHR Tea Project is bound to help put Hawaii grown tea on the map. The state of Hawaii is the nation’s largest tea producer and a leader in research on fine quality Camellia sinensis teas.
The farms in the delegation all represent a spectrum of tea agriculture, propagation, product development, agro tourism, research and experience in education. The delegates are Eva Lee of Tea Hawaii & Company and Kimberly Ino of Mauna Kea Tea both from Hawai`i Island, Liam Ball of Na Liko Tea from Maui and Michelle Rose of Cloudwater Tea Farm from Kauai. Tea products will also be on display with the Hawaii Grown Tea Delegation at the World Tea Expo including value added tea products by Mike Riley of Volcano Tea Garden, John Cross of Johnny’s Garden and Alex Wood of Volcano Winery all located on Hawai`i Island.
For the past ten years Hawaii has benefited from the experimentation of tea agriculture as well as the reintroduction of tea in Hawaii by research scientist Dr Francis Zee of USDA-ARS Pacific Basin Agriculture Research Center partnered with the University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) Tea Project. Research continues on various aspects of cultivating, processing and marketing of Hawaii grown tea operated from the commercial-scale processing facility at the Mealani Research Station in Kamuela, Hawaii.
Collaborating in many projects together in educating the public and cultivation practices, tea growers on all islands have developed and are producing white, green, oolong and black teas unique to Hawaii. This specialty crop is marketed to commercial niche businesses in Hawaii and abroad.
As a state, Hawaii has the largest number of tea gardens and estates in the U.S. producing whole leaf finished teas and numerous value added products, as well as plant propagation and research activities.
The World Tea Expo held June 11- 13th at the convention center in Las Vegas, Nevada will bring together tea industry professionals attending and exhibiting as well as holding conference topics including Hawaii grown tea. Delegation project director Eva Lee is a selected speaker on the importance of Hawaii grown tea. Internationally renowned tea professional speaker and author Jane Pettigrew of the United Kingdom will feature focused tasting sessions of Hawaii grown tea.
“It’s been a decade of dedication for us tea growers learning as we go and finding our way with tea. We will be proud to share our tea history in this international arena. It will provide an opportunity for our federal, state and county interests to be recognized beyond our boarders and support the creative artistry that our tea growers contribute in state agriculture,” says Lee.
The project is supported by the Big Island Resource Conservation & Development Council, and co-sponsored by Tea Hawaii & Company in cooperation with the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
For more information on the World Tea Expo please go to
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