Thanks to a friendly introduction, I set out for the Big Island one Thursday morning.
After arriving at the Hilo Airport at the crack of dawn, I hit Ken's House of Pancakes and then I was on my way to Sherri's via rented Ford Mustang Convertible (in a horrible neon blue).
Here's Sherri Miller! She's the owner of the Moonrise Tea Garden which is located above Hilo Town on the Hamakua side of the Wailuku river, 4 miles up Kaiwiki Road.
Here are the dogs: Tiki and Tuesday. Tuesday is in training to be a therapy dog.
Here we arrive to the porch where we sit and enjoy drinking tea together.
Here are the teas she sells at the local Farmer's Market in Hilo.
Here are the jars of all her teas that she samples regularly. She does a lot of blending with local ingredients.
This is one of my favorite blended teas, Moonrise Teas' Shave Ice. It's lilikoi flavored green tea with Hawaiian pineapples.
Tropical Star Black Tea- Local Hawaiian Starfruit blended in a Black Tea with Lychee essence and safflower threads. It is just the right amount of sweet with a subtle fruity note.
Some dragonfruit, dates and starfruit...
This is an aroma tea cup, often called a fragrance cup. Mostly used for Taiwanese oolongs for enhancing and enticing the senses. There's something wonderful about breathing in the fragrant florals of a Taiwanese oolong. I love (and prefer) to enjoy my oolongs this way.
This is how you use an aroma (fragrance) cup:
1) Heat the aroma cup, tasting cup and tea vessel with hot water, and pour off
2) Steep tea properly
3) Pour tea into the aroma cup
4) Cover the aroma cup with the tasting cup by inverting the tasting cup so that the pair resemble a mushroom.
5) Hold the pair together with thumb and middle finger
6) Flip the aroma cup and tasting cup pair, so that the aroma cup is facing downward, into the tasting cup.
7) Lift the aroma cup vertically, out of the tasting cup, leaving the tea in the tasting cup.
8) Waft the aroma cup to give it some air
9) Sink your nose into the aroma cup and enjoy the fragrance.
10) Smell it every 10-15 seconds and note the changes of the aroma as it mixes with the air. It will become sweeter and more fragrant for the first 60-90 seconds before falling off.
Sherri avoids herbicides and pesticides by making her own organic fertilizer using anything from eggshells to cherries to garlic as seen below. I even took a sip of the jar on the left. It was quite tasty!
Took a bite...YUM!
Then it was picking time...
Plucked and ready to wither...and then off to lunch.
While we were in town I noticed a KAVA BAR sign. Sherri offered to prepare some for me at her home. Here she is preparing the Kava Kava...
It made my mouth a little numb and it tasted earthy and grainy, but I enjoyed it.
More details to come about this trip to Sherri's in the near future.