There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to a cup of tea. Have you ever stopped to think what went into that tea bag before you dunked it into some hot water in your mug? Jamie Chambers, creator behind the local brand Hobbs Tea, certainly has.
“Tea is one of the only agricultural products that is not washed before it reaches you,” says Chambers. “Any pesticides or chemicals used during growing and crafting goes right into your cup. This is why we only use organic sustainably grown teas from single gardens. Tea bags today are made from bleached paper or nylon. The nylon contains forms of plastic that when brewed leach into your water and tea. Same with the bleach, glue and chlorine that is used in traditional tea bags.”
That was sobering information for me, a daily tea consumer. I drink all kinds of tea, some organic, some corporate, but nearly all teas I get come in a bleached bag of some sort. Chambers’ Hobbs Tea is crafting a more holistic tea experience with local tea farms and hand-bagged tea using plant-based materials.
It starts with the tea leaves that Chambers has carefully selected.
“Each tea is single garden estate grown,” says Chambers. “The Artisan Collection is from certified organic artisan gardens around the world. They use fair trade, sustainable, organic artisan practices. Some gardens are over 800 years old, with ‘deep root’ tea trees that pull minerals from the earth, resulting in a deep rich brew–similar to ‘deep vine’ wine. We also have four teas that are 100 percent Hawaii grown. Single garden grown on Kilauea Volcano, Big Island Hawaii. Each tea leaf is hand-picked, indoor shade-dried.”
Then she processes them on Oahu.
“Each tea is brought to Oahu where we hand-fill each whole leaf tea into 100 percent plant-based bags,” says Chambers.”Each tea bag is made from plant fiber only–no bleach, nylon, plastic, glue, metal ever. We use no machines, only tea-loving hands to ensure the optimal freshness and quality of each tea leaf. Each tea bag is hand-tied and hand-sealed into certified biodegradable and compostable non-toxic water based ink bags. The result is the world’s most luxurious tea made easy to brew on the go anywhere, anytime, with no chemicals at all and also good for our planet.”
Teas have unique vitamins and minerals. Hobbs makes a Sencha Green to uplift with Theanine and vitamins C,E, and K; Rooibos, to clarify with vitamin C, zinc, Iron and calcium (it helps to balance women’s hormones); Silver Tip White Tea to rejuvenate with antioxidants and phytonutrients; Yerba Mate has as much caffeine as coffee plus selenium, chlorophyll and 28 different amino acids; and Mint Oolong to cleanse with vitamin E, folic acid and Thiamine. The Mint Oolong combination helps to flush fatty carbs from your system, serving as a great detox tea according to Chambers.
Her teas come from Hawaii and around the world. A process that took years. The Sencha Green is a 13th century heirloom tea garden from Kagoshima, Kyushu Island, Japan. The Silver Tip White is hand-picked baby tea buds from Fujian Province, China. The mint is grown in the Cascade Mountain valleys in Washington. Oolong is harvested in the Wuyi Mountain Rainforest of North Fujian, China. Rooibos comes from 17th century Cederburg Mountains in South Africa while the Yerba Mate is rainforest grown from Mata Atlantica, South Brazil.
“I tasted hundreds of teas from around the world, researched health benefits and caffeine levels with different combinations, confirmed organic, fair trade, sustainable certifications of each garden,” says Chambers. “This process took about three years.”
What’s more, tea takes a while before it can be harvested.
“It takes years, at least five, to get a solid harvest,” says Chambers. “Then you have to craft them which take a ton of experience and knowledge. Our Hawaii-grown oolong is hand-massaged for hours to bring the lovely oils to the top of each leaf resulting in a citrus honey and touch of spice taste. Hawaiian volcano soil adds a natural sweetness to each tea. Volcanic soil is extremely acidic, so the tea plants grow very well. Most places in the world do not benefit from this luxury. Hobbs Hawaii Grown tea is grown in between two active lava tubes, which results in a lovely and extremely unique and rare brew.”
Because Hobbs tea is hand-crafted and fresh, each bag will brew many cups. Find Hobbs Tea at the Maui Ocean Center Gift Shop, the Mahana Market at the Montage or at Hobbstea.com.