Creating Forest-Grown Tea in Hawaii


Since we launched Talking Tea in 2014, one of our main areas of focus has been the continuing growth of tea enthusiasm in North America. We’ve chatted with tea sellers, educators and writers, but we haven’t had the chance to talk with anyone actually farming tea in the US or Canada. Until now.  

Today on Talking Tea we welcome Eliah Halpeny and Cam Muir of Big Island Tea, a pioneering tea farm and producer on the (you guessed it) big island of Hawaii. Eliah and Cam have created an ecologically complex forest environment for growing tea on the fertile slopes of Mauna Loa volcano. They chat with us about how they came to tea production, their model of sustainable tea farming in a self-replenishing forest and how that model impacts the flavor, aroma and quality of their teas. We also chat about Hawaii’s budding tea industry and about how the artistry and science Cam and Eliah bring to their work go into creating what Cam calls a “symphony of flavors” in their teas. And from our perspective, that symphony is a masterpiece.

More about Big Island Tea, including retailers and restaurants carrying its teas, can be found at its website, Additional images are on its Instagram feed. For info about private purchases of Big Island teas, contact Eliah at


Talking Tea is produced and hosted by Ken Cohen. You can follow Ken on Twitter @kensvoiceken.   

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The views and opinions expressed by guests on Talking Tea are those of the guests and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Talking Tea or its staff.

This podcast features music from “Japanese Flowers” ( by mpgiiiBEATS ( available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license ( Adapted from original.


Header image “Raw Puerh mid 1980 Menghai” by Cosmin Dordea, used under a Creative Commons CC By-SA 2.0 license. Adapted from original.


Image of the Big Island Tea farm courtesy of Big Island Tea.

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