I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the success of American-grown tea in recent years. According to World Tea News, there are now 60 tea farms that are operating in 15 states. It’s only during the last 15 years that this has occurred.
I suspect some of the success can be attributed to novelty but some of it represents damn good tea. I was on the Big Island of Hawaii six years ago and made a trip to a tea farm out there. The tea was great by any standard. Obviously, each geographic location and climate bring unique aspects to the tea. Teas grown in India, for example, are distinctly different in flavor than those grown in China or Japan. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other, simply that they taste differently.
American tea growers don’t have the centuries of experience in tea growing and processing but we’re an innovative country. Look what California and later Oregon wines did to the French and Italian stronghold on exceptional wines. I suspect we’ll catch up quickly. On a small scale, these local tea growers are selling out their stock and increasing their plantings each year. I very much look forward to hearing about more and more artisanal tea grown in the U.S.A.
I hope that if you’re fortunate enough to live in a state that has a tea farmer producing tea, you’ll be sure to support that new business by trying their teas.