I’m on a mission. You see, I teach tea classes here in Las Vegas. My partner, Ashanti, also loves to teach and the two of us could talk for hours about tea … if it weren’t for our very energetic offspring. Our tea classes range from informational Tea 101’s for new tea drinkers to formal tasting sessions, pairing sessions, tea cocktail-and-beer sessions, and cooking-with-tea demonstrations. In all, we currently have about 32 classes we are offering and/or working on constructing.
While brainstorming format and session ideas for 2013, we began talking about wild tea. Not wild herbs that are harvested and blended into herbal concoctions, but real, wild Camellia sinensis. We’ve all seen pictures of the expansive, emerald hills rife with perfectly groomed tea bushes. I’m the first to admit that I wouldn’t turn down that view for anything! But for an avid tea drinker like myself, the knowledge that tea is growing wild in a bamboo forest somewhere most definitely piques my interest! I’ve had the honor of trying a handful of wild teas and they have been an experience all their own.
On a whim, I attended a presentation at last year’s World Tea Expo that touched on the dying art of yellow tea in China. The video footage that was shown was moving and fascinating and showed a side of tea that is not commonly highlighted. It followed a very small tea farmer, tucked away in the mountains of China with very little connection to the outside world, where he harvested his tea – some wild, some cultivated in a traditional tea garden. I was mesmerized and began searching online, in print, and via connections for any wild tea information I could get my hands on.
That leads me to begging for your help! I want to share the “wild tea” experience with our burgeoning group of tea drinkers here in “wild” Las Vegas. Thus far, I have only managed to find information about wild tea being grown in China. Certainly, China cannot be the only place where tea is harvested in its wild form? Let’s hear from Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Thailand, and the rest of you tea-growing regions! Who’s growing wild tea, how do I get my hands on it, and what’s the backstory?
While you’ve certainly gotten my interest Naomi. I look forward to hearing about wild tea in other tea regions. I’m hoping Rajiv will have something to offer here, as far as India is concerned.
Naomi, I do have some wild tea conenctions, most of them are Oolong and White tea. For me Wild tea is something like a surprise and game playing, also it can force us to think about the envirenment protection.
Organic planting is great, but how to take care of the high cost and low output is still a real problem.
I have much interest on your classes and consultancy business. Please let me know if you need any more information.
I am a Tea Planter, Tea processor, Tea marketeer, Tea Blender, Tea Consultant, and now I work for a reputed Tea Retailer in Canada as it’s Quality Manager. (a total of 30 years in the industry)
I am earnestly looking to engage in a project to grow tea in Las Vegas. I will be at the WTE this year too.
Daniel, Thank you for the offer and I will definitely be sending you some questions soon!
Ravi, I would love to meet up with you at EXPO and chat about what you are looking to do here in Vegas!
South Korea has wild tea that is still harvested, especially by monks around temples. These plants are from Chinese seed brought over long ago that now grows wild. The locals have started to cultivate the “wild” variety, and the quality is considered better than commercial tea that comes from more recent introduction of Japanese cultivars.
Thanks so much for the insight. I had no idea and am going to add that information to my presentation. Any ideas on how I might be able to get my hands on a small sample for the class? 10g?