Nov 27 | Derek Galkin
"On a recent visit, over a cup of tea (and later a glass of wine), I talked to Andy and Annie about their projects. Both are deeply committed to responsible farming, are extremely water-conscious and have restored native plants to their property, ever mindful of the impacts on the land. Pure and lively herbal aromas lifted from my glass of Hibiscus tea as Annie explained the harvesting of tea leaves. 'Tea is seasonal, and the first pick of every tea, called ‘first flush,’ occurs in spring, with young, fresh buds—the best tea of the year. After that, we have an early summer and late-summer pick.'
Annie is intent on using Erda as a vehicle to teach tea lovers about tea culture. 'Our tea is farmed organically, and is whole leaf and flower—there are no bags, it is all loose-leaf herbal tea; all caffeine free, and meant to be about slowing down. You don’t brew this and get in your car and go driving,' she says. 'It’s a process—you benefit from the aromas, from taking time to smell the tea, and taking a moment to enjoy it... I’m growing herbals teas, which are caffeine free. These teas need to be dried at low temperatures, to capture as many natural oils and natural color as possible—they drink like a fresh tisane, very subtle, bright, and clean.' "