Long Island has been famous for its strawberries for as long as people have lived there. Local history books describe people going on picnics and nature hikes to pick the wild berries as far back as the 1850’s – and that’s only recorded history. Archaeological records show that the Native Americans who inhabited Long Island centuries ago were also fond of the sweet summertime fruit.
After the Civil War, commercial farming on Long Island began to develop rapidly. Among the new cash crops was the wild strawberry. It didn’t hurt that the local farms were generally within a day’s drive of New York City. Farmers began hauling their produce to markets around the City, spreading the word about the exceptional Long Island quality. The strawberry’s popularity grew quickly and as time wore on, and car culture began to develop, roadside fruit stands popped up to cater to city folk partaking in the new found pleasure of the country drive. To this day a journey out to Long Island will take you past many such stands and pick-your-own berry patches.
A stop at such a stand was the inspiration behind this blended green tea. Company mythology has it that our master taster stopped to buy some berries one summer and was so dazzled by their sweet juiciness that he immediately called back to the office to declare a tea-eureka moment! A decision was quickly made to develop Long Island Wild Strawberry tea.
After experimenting with a number of teas, a Sencha style green from Hunan, China was chosen. The reason? It’s a perfect match for the sweet flavor of strawberries. Green tea forgoes the fermentation process required to produce black tea. The leaf is steamed after plucking, then bruised either by machine or by hand. After that it’s pan or basket fired, leaving it with a distinctive glossy look and light sweetish flavor – an almost perfect match for the strawberry in terms of character profile.
Blended together, the combination of strawberry flavoring and green tea produces a cup that is light and fresh, tempered with delicate notes of juicy sweet strawberry. (The juiciness has been further enhanced by the addition of dried papaya pieces.) Brew yourself a pot today and dream of a relaxing cruise through the countryside. A fabulous tea!