These notes are maintained by
Big Island Tea Growers
- Ben Discoe, in Ahualoa
- Started by attending the County Tea Workshop in September 2005, with first 17 cuttings in January 2006. As of December 2008,
was able to start around 300 plants. This site that you are reading contains everything
been able to learn about tea. There is also
a blog for the farm.
- Contact: ben (at) washedashore.com
- Mike Riley, in Volcano
- November 2006 HIJ article described Mike thusly: "An artist-turned-tea-grower,
woodworker Mike Riley,
is the "tea guru" on whom many local growers rely for information, resources,
encouragement and moral support. Riley is already harvesting the first quarter
acre he planted and just put in another quarter acre. Eventually, he hopes
to have two acres producing tea."
- At 3600'. 2009 he estimates his production at 120 lbs. (~54 kilos)
Rob and Mike, in Onomea
- Their first tea plants were planted in 2002. They've produced
some quantities of very interesting tea, some of it tasting intriguingly
like the nearby ocean, others are yummy interesting roasted teas.
- 2006 HIJ article said: "Started their tea farm overlooking Onomea Bay
near Papa'ikou in 2003 and currently have nearly an acre planted. Their
goal is to have 3 acres under cultivation by 2009. Right now, they only
produce enough tea for themselves and friends, but to produce a commercial
- In 2007, launched commerically as Onomea
Tea Company. "Currently have more than 2200 plants of tea, that’s
about ½ mile of contoured rows of tea. We hope to have 3 to 4 acres of tea
planted within the next two years."
- Contact: mike (at) daylily (dot) com
- Eliah Halpenny, near Volcano
- She has a tea plantation with a website, called
Big Island Tea, selling green, oolong
and black tea. As of September 2006, only a couple pages of the site
are there, and the online sales aren't hooked up yet.
- 2006 HTS bio says: "In January 2002 her first Camellia Sinensis seeds
were planted. She now lives with her husband on North Glenwood Road, transforming
a 5 acre farm into a tea garden. Before starting the tea project, Eliah's
history included 11 years of sales and marketing and a lifetime of avid
- Contact: eliah (at) bigislandtea.com
- Kimberly and Takahiro Ino, in Ahualoa
- 2006 HTS bio says of Kimberly: "BS Environmental Science, UC Berkeley.
Joined the HTS Board of Directors as Secretary in 2005. She is currently
propagating cuttings, planting, and processing tea to develop a tea farm
in the Hamakua district."
- Takahiro is very active in building their beautiful small tea farm.
He has a blog in English and
a more detailed blog in Japanese.
- As of December 2006, their farm has a name and a website,
Mauna Kea Tea.
- Sherri Miller, in Kaiwiki, just north of Hilo
- Nadao Honda, Honokaa
- 2006 HIJ article said: "Considers himself a small tea grower.
Joined the Hawaii Tea Society in 2004 and planted 64 Camellia sinensis plants
in Honoka'a; he eventually wants to grow 100. Honda, who calls himself
"a beginner," is excited about the possibilities of experimenting with different
flavored teas in the future by adding other island-grown products such as
ginger, vanilla and the essence of tropical fruits to the tea blends."
- Mel Herring, in Hilo
- 2006 HTS bio says: "Currently a senior at UH Hilo, working toward a
BS degree in Tropical Horticulture and Plant Tissue Culture Certification.
She is employed at a plant tissue culture lab for a nursery specializing
in ornamental and landscaping plants. She personally has approximately 200
tea plants in Waiakea Uka of various ages. Before growing tea, Mel
worked at an orchid lab and nursery."
- Eva Lee and Chiu Leong, in Volcano
- 2006 HTS bio says of Eva: "Tea grower and founding member of
the HTS. Resident of Volcano for 25 years. Partner in business with
artist and husband Chiu Leong that produces fine ceramics and tea-ware.
This year they established a new business called
TeaHawaii.com, an Agri-tour service
that hosts visitors for tea tasting and educational presentations. Lee is
an arts advocate. She holds a BA Degree in Theatre & Dance from UH Manoa.
She was awarded for her Outstanding Dedication for participation in the
2005 Hawaii Grown Tea Project Initiative by CTAHR and is certified in the
Foundations in Tea by the Specialty Tea Institute of Tea Association USA."
- They have many hundreds, possibly thousands, of tea plants.
- 2009 video:
Hawaii-Grown Tea: An Interview with Tea Farmer Eva Lee
- Contact for Eva: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Misato Mortara, in Volcano
- 2006 HTS bio says "From Shizuoka, the largest tea producing area in
Japan. Misato is a founding member of the HTS. Her family has been
farming tea in Shizuoka for generations. Having lived in Hawaii since 1987,
she began growing several varieties of tea in Volcano in 2003. In addition
to her involvement in Volcano’s growing tea industry, Misato and her husband
run 2400 Fahrenheit, an art glass company.
- Jeanette Baysa and Kathy Patton, in Mountain View
- 2006 HTS bio says: "Involved
in farming of both coffee and most recently tea. [They run] Hilo Coffee
Mill, located on 24 beautiful acres in Mt. View, which was founded to help
small local coffee farmers not only produce and process their coffee and
tea crops, but also assist in marketing these valuable crops to the rest
of the world."
- Merle Wood, Captain Cook
- 2008 HTS bio says: Merle is growing nine hundred tea plants on his tea
- John Cross
- Mentioned in a October 2008 magazine article, and
Samovar's Hawaii Grown Black Tea. Grows tea in Hakalau "from tea
plants that his father planted as an agricultural experiment 15 years ago",
at 900' elevation.
- Trent Bateman, Kaloko
- Mentioned in a June 2009 article. Currently of 'Mountain Thunder
Kona Coffee', the plan is to plant 10,000 tea plants on 2 acres. Article
says "two varietal strains Bateman is focusing on: darjeeling and oolong."
- Dale Hamilton, 97 mile marker in South Kona
- As of November 2009, had around 400 Yabukita in the ground on 5
acres. As of 2010, has begun processing and his plan is for
thousands of plants.
Big Island Tea Growers Map - An experiment using mapbuilder.net.