This is how much tea I managed to pick yesterday in the 95 degree heat.  Doesn’t look like much but it will be a few pounds of green tea.  I work carefully in the fields, working in slow motion and drink water constantly.  My tea growth has been very slow this year and I am now getting a pretty good flush.  I am hoping to make my 300 pounds this year that I will need but I may not.

I dry my tea in the sun in a “dry pen” whereas everyone else I know dries tea in an oven.  I have dried tea in the oven but I thought it gave it a metallic taste so I use the sun like the Chinese taught me.  When I pick the leaves for the green tea, we first pan fry it to kill the esterase then I roll it in the tea roller.  I roll green tea a bit lighter than I do the black and Oolong teas.  If I put it right out in the sun, it will “sun tan” a bit, which is oxidizing a little bit.  I do this on purpose.  I like a little boldness in my green (approaching pouchong).  If I let it cool over night in the AC, it will not “sun tan.”  I’ll actually do about half of my green teas that way and then blend them together.

I experiment with tea like this all the time.  I am what you call an artesian tea maker as opposed to a commercial tea maker.  I do it much more for the fun and interest of it rather that to make money.  Believe me, if making money was my goal I would be doing things completely differently.  I do not advertise, or put my tea in any shops, tea houses, stores or restaurants.  Although there are a few friends who sell my tea but they come here and get it.  I have the potential to cover the fields around my in tea bushes in one year but I do not do that.  I have fun with the leaves.

Remember, we do tea tours here every day.  We do them only once a day at 1:00.  You have to have an appointment.  I like three or less so we can ride around in the golf cart.  I will keep you in the shade.  You will learn lots about tea and I will show you what ever I am making at the time.  Tours are $10 (CASH) each and if you want to buy cup size teabags they too are another $10.  Loose leaf bags are $15 for 7 oz green or black tea.  Want a pound?  We can help you with that too.

Come on down and see us!

Donnie Barrett