Think back to that cup of tea you just finished. There’s a slim to nothing chance that the tea that went into it was grown in the United States or England and very good odds that it hailed from either China, India, or Africa, the world’s top tea growers. While the former countries don’t really even make it into the rankings for tea production that doesn’t mean that there aren’t British and American tea growers out there keeping the faith.
Here in the United States, the big gun (that’s relatively speaking) of tea production is the Charleston Tea Plantation, located in South Carolina. Other more modest tea-growing operations are also underway or planned in Washington and California and, perhaps more notably, in Hawaii, which turned up in a few news flashes recently.
According a recent blip in Businessweek, the Hawaiian state Senate is thinking of making tea an officially sanctioned specialty crop. Senate Bill 2957 has been drafted to, as the article notes, set “regulations for marketing and advertising Hawaii teas, making it clear which are 100 percent Hawaii grown and which are blends that include local teas.”
Here’s a recent article from Fox News that claims that the entire recent output of Hawaiian tea (all 22 pounds of it) was snapped up by Harrods of London and can be found nowhere else on Earth. It didn’t come cheap, according to the article, which notes that Harrods plunked down $90,000 for the crop, or just over $250 an ounce.
If you can’t decide between tea or coffee maybe you could split the difference and go with a type of “tea” that’s made from coffee cherries. Coincidentally, there’s a company called Teas of Hawaii who are making such a product and you can read more about it here. For even more on Hawaiian tea, check the Web site for the Hawaii Tea Society.
Taylors of Harrogate, British merchants of tea and other things, claim to be growing very modest amounts of tea in greenhouses at their home base in Harrogate, England, but it’s Tregothan Estate, in the western part of the country, who are currently the only significant player in the British tea-growing game. The estate grows about ten tons of tea a year and recently noted that unusually mild temperatures allowed for tea to be harvested there for a record-setting twelve consecutive months.
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