Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation

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Recent Tasting Notes

My work father and his wife gifted me a canister of mamaki following one of their many trips to the islands. Mamaki is a plant in the the nettle family and is endemic to the Hawaiian islands. The large, brittle green leaves have a dense network of veins that create a dimpled surface; the undersides are white and turn completely green once steeped.

Should’ve written a note when I first opened this canister. It was mellow to begin with, like a cross between a GABA tea and an herbal. I remember it back then being fuller flavored, lotta yamminess and corny sweetness. Now, with some age and the last of the leaf tonight prepared in a bowl, it has less sweetness and more of a tangy-nutty squash-like character with some herbaceous-corn husk high notes. There is no bitterness at all, and it has some body, which is always a welcome surprise when it comes to herbal teas.

This leaf has endurance and can take the heat of multiple boiling water steeps. It is true what others say about mamaki, the longer you steep it, like 30+ minutes, the more flavorful it becomes.

This has been a really pleasant herb to have in my cupboard. I’m sad that it somehow got stashed at the back of the herbal tea shelf in the kitchen. I’ll have to ask my work father to bring some mamaki back on his next trip to the islands.

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Corn Husk, Herbaceous, Nutty, Smooth, Tangy


Your work father sounds like quite a guy! Mine (eh, make it “work big brother”) retired in July and we miss him deeply. And your steep time comment made me laugh - I do 30 minute steeps all the time, just not on purpose!

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Back to ye olde tealog today. Too much work makes tea scribbling go boom.

This tea requires a little background. Mamaki is a native Hawaiian flowering plant, and long ago, in a galaxy that we still call home, fresh mamaki leaves were combined with hot stones and spring water by ancient Hawaiians “to produce an herbal tea that was an effective treatment for general debility. Today, packages of dried mamaki leaves are commercially produced.” (Thanks, Wikipedia! We should always believe your publicly-editable information without question!) Of course, centuries later, hot stones and spring water would again be combined to produce spa treatments that cost about a bazillion dollars per year, and the ghosts of ancient Hawaiians would lament their lack of royalties.

Ah well. With my sarcasm I digress.

I discovered this organic mamaki tea last summer at Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation, an organic coffee plantation located in the mist-soaked hills of the Big Island. I actually saw the plants from which this organic tea grew with my own two eyes, in fact, making this perhaps my most sentimentally unusual tea.

As for the taste, mamaki lies somewhere between an earthy-nutty green and a touch of delicate-sweet white, which makes sense for an herbal tea of this nature. (The company describes this tea as a “white tea without caffeine,” but it is in fact an herbal tea. Represent accurately, yo.) Without any ancient Hawaiian ghosts to guide me in preparation, I can only guess at steep time and water temperature. This is a full-leaf tea, too: there are literally entire leaves, albeit dried, filling the tin, which makes measurement a little more interesting. I went with green steeping recommendations today, since using hotter water in the past made this tea a little too flavorless for my taste. This time it fared better.

But, ah, does it cure debility? Alas, I have no scientific data on that claim, but I do feel empowered enough to compose my requisite tea-haiku(s):

Before there were drugs
from the doctor, some drank tea.
Grass skirt optional.

Poor mamaki leaves,
fallen from paradise to
a cynic’s teacup!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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