By Dagny Brand
“In Hawaii, we grow and process some of the finest tea in the world,” said owner and founder of Tea Chest Hawaii, Byron Goo. Since its opening in 1995, Tea Chest Hawaii has worked with over 30 local farms on five islands to develop a tea industry that complements Hawaii’s reputable coffee industry. Tea Chest Hawaii creates teas whose tastes truly reflect local flavors. “One of the impacts of COVID-19 on our business is we now look at tea not only as a product but as a delivery mechanism for better health,” said Goo, explaining that their teas provide plant-based nutrients and adaptogens.
In response to the pandemic, Tea Chest Hawaii created three wellness blends to keep the community healthy. They reached out to their online community of 6000+ customers to discover what people needed and created the Olena blend for inflammation, Mana blend to boost immunity, and Nanea blend to help with stress and anxiety.
In addition to these blends, Tea Chest Hawaii and its house brands, Hawaiian Natural Tea and The Island Essence Tea Collection, offer a variety of teas, each with their own unique taste profile. Their Original Blend Nilgiri Iced Tea won a national taste competition and the title, Best Iced Tea in America. Tea represents centuries of history and culture relating to local remedies. Goo explained that tea helps relax the mind and is a major source of antioxidants proven to have antiviral and cancer fighting properties. Oolong tea is known for improving cognitive skills, and teas made from adaptogenic plants like moringa and mamaki work to restore balance in the body. Goo recommends their cacao tea as the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth without sugar and calories.
One of the core values at Tea Chest Hawaii is to malama aina, “take care of the land, water, and community. Because quality and taste have always been paramount to us, we tend to source ingredients from small, independent family-owned farms that are passionate about their crops and their communities.” The vast majority of their ingredients are organic and sustainably grown, and the company purchases as many Hawaii-grown ingredients as possible.
Tea Chest Hawaii has hosted training and education events for growers. “There is a synergy between farming and value added,” mentioned Goo, who is also a past president of the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association. “Value added manufacturing can help farmers generate new revenue streams and benefits.” Goo encourages farmers to reach out to him if they have a crop that they want to turn into tea. Tea Chest Hawaii also has a strategic partnership with Kamehameha Schools where they offer internships and in-school learning to sharpen the next generation.
Explore the company’s website to find exclusive and proprietary blends that can’t be found anywhere else. The website is expanding with blog posts to be an educational outlet as well. Topics include “How Tea Can Help Maintain A Healthy Immune System” and “How To Make Iced Tea Simple.” The company is becoming more accessible post-pandemic and now offers free local pickup. While their online community continues to grow, Tea Chest Hawaii’s products are also available in Longs and Whole Foods statewide.
For more information about Tea Chest Hawaii, click here.