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“The best thing we did on the Big Island”
Review of Onomea Tea Company

Onomea Tea Company
Ranked #2 of 4 things to do in Papaikou
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Onomea Tea Company is a tea estate, growing and processing organic tea grown in one of the most scenic places in Hawaii. Contact us by phone or email to make a reservation for one of our unique tour/tasting events. This 2 hour educational and enjoyable experience is available exclusively by reservation. See our web site for more information. Our farm is located near the Hawaii Botanical Gardens along the Onomea Scenic route on Hawaii Island but is not open for drop in traffic, please contact us at least 24 hours before you'd like a tour. Aloha!
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“The best thing we did on the Big Island”
Reviewed 21 May 2014

On a last minute whim, I decided to plan a trip to a local tea farm. Even though we are primarily tea drinkers, my husband and I really had no idea how tea is made so we were curious about the process.

Initially we were looking to book with Mauna Kea Tea Company however they were not available for tours. They suggested Onomea Tea as an alternative location and we are so glad they did.

We combined a trip to this area with the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens where the garden trails lead you to Onomea Bay. Actually, Onomea Tea Company grounds provide you with an even better view of the bay at a higher elevation. On the day of our visit, we could see the whales jumping out the water as we enjoyed our tea on their beautiful balcony.

As we drove into the property, we were greeted by a exceptionally friendly ambassador, Roscoe. He is a friendly yet gentle dog who loves visitors. Rob and Mike came down to welcome us to their lovely property.

Rob gave us a highly informative tour of their tea making process. I was impressed by their organic sustainable model of tea production from the planting of seed/cuttings to processing the leaves to make their green, oolong and black tea.

As an experienced tea drinker, the quality of their tea is exceptional. Mike serves their tea in the traditional Chinese tea ceremony fashion (kung-fu cha) and you can taste the tea during the various stages of steeping. You can appreciate the distinct aromas that come from the different methods of processing even though the tea itself is from the exact same plant. We were able to sample their green, oolong and black teas - each with their own characteristic and flavor. You can see that only the whole tips of the plants are harvested (by hand!) which is a testament to what a labor of love this is. I came to appreciate not only the science but the art of tea making.

Rob's freshly made scones are possibly one of the best things you will ever eat. I've had high tea at the Pennisula, Mandarin Oriental in various cities and his scones beat them all - hands down. (Another tour member wasn't able to eat gluten, but they were still able to accommodate his dietary needs with some beautiful fresh fruit.) Served with lilkoi (passion fruit which grows on their property) curd and a spectacular bay views, this was an afternoon tea like no other you will experience.

This was the best thing we did on the Big Island over a 5 day trip. I would highly recommend this tour. I was so happy I could bring their tea back home to remind me of the wonderful afternoon on the Big Island. I can't wait to come back here again.

Visited March 2014
8 Thank Candace C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Lorain, Ohio
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“highly recommended!!”
Reviewed 27 March 2014 via mobile

There were so many great things about this tour!! It has an incredible view overlooking the ocean. They have a ton of information to give you on not only the tea but local history as well. The tasting was wonderful as well with amazing lillikoi butter and scones. Rob and Mike were wonderful hosts! This was one of the highlights of our trip!

Visited November 2013
5 Thank Kim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, MN
Level Contributor
28 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Wonderful Experience”
Reviewed 13 February 2014

The tea tour was one of the favorite things we did on the Big Island this trip! Our group consisted of tea drinkers, but not tea experts, and that didn't matter one bit. Rob and Mike taught us a lot of new stuff, and are just all around great guys. The scenery here is incredible. You see the same much photographed ocean view from the Hawaiian Botanical gardens, but I think you have even a better vantage point from their place. Even if I had little interest in tea, I think the scenery would have kept me entertained. The scones and jam (which I wish they sold) that they served was delicious, and I thought this was a great value for the price of a tour. If you have any interest in food tourism, this is a must stop!

Visited January 2014
4 Thank CeeCee29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tiburon, California
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Closest address to Heaven”
Reviewed 29 October 2013

We are devoted tea drinkers. The tea tour and tasting was the most graceful and blessed time of our honeymoon.

The tour was just for the two of us. We felt like we had special treatment. Rob and Mike treated us like family and made us feel completely at home. It was nothing short of the feeling of an unexpected family reunion with heart warming and intellectually stimulating hospitality.

We enjoyed our wonderfully orchestrated and hosted tea tasting experience on their covered terrace with Mike across from us serving the tea and Rob to our left. The terrace over looks the garden with an ocean view. The perfect all year round ocean breeze, two great hosts, freshly baked Scones and home made jams create an atmosphere of relaxation, elegance, refreshment, education, joy and excitement all at the same time, and in perfect timing and moderation.

Rob and Mike's generous hospitality -
Rob, Mike and a friendly dog greeted us warmly. We enjoyed more than two hours of tea tasting with five different types of teas - grean, oolong, black, and two other rare teas; (1) a very hard-to-find excellent chinese tea and (2) KoKo Ki tea (aged black tea) that they make, smells like cacao and even has a hint of it in the taste but there is no cacao added. Their property is breathtakingly beautiful. The tour was so informative and educational.

Rob was sincere and peaceful, and told us their story of how over the past 11 years they developed the tea garden. We understand it's not easy for anybody to grow new products in a new place, and the wonderful onomea tea has come from years of trial and error.

Also it is clear that they have enjoyed their life, and we were impressed by their way of life. Mike served each cup of tea with a unique pleasant atmosphere.
Home made scones and lilikoi butter with edible flowers were also a blessing, and super delicious. We've never enjoyed green and black tea in such a chinese way. It was a really enjoyable experience. Everything tasted so perfectly. We will never forget each flavor of tea and conversation with Mike and Rob.

Rob and Mike's passion and energy for tea is infectious. It is most certainly their highest joy, and both Rob and Mike were an inspiration to us to follow our highest joy. Plan all your other activities around spending a morning or afternoon with Rob and Mike. You will be grateful that you did. We certainly are. We will definitely visit them again in the near future.

Visited October 2013
6 Thank LoveShasta0123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Florence, Kentucky
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Perfection in Paradise”
Reviewed 21 October 2013

This is my second visit to Onomea Tea Plantation this year - if this gives you any idea how much I love and appreciate this gem on the big island of Hawaii.
As a tea professional that has toured many gardens, I appreciate the special connections that Rob and Mike make with their guests. If you go expecting a delicious tea tasting and a "fun way" to try something new on the big island of Hawaii, you will not be disappointed.
However, this tea tasting does not compare to anything I have ever experienced.

First, their location: Stunningly beautiful!
Second, the agritour offers a "connect the dots" approach to the basics of tea, from harvest and production, to the nuances of proper tasting techniques. Wether you are a "tea newbie" or an industry professional you will learn something and be awed by the scenery and the delicious taste of their teas! Their love of tea and commitment to clean organic farming methods shines through in everything that they do.
Finally, the lilikoi (passionfruit) butter that Rob serves to accompany his delicious scones is the last final treat in a memorable tea experience that I will cherish for many years to come.
Bravo Mike & Rob!
P.S. Don't miss out on taking some of their delicious teas home with you... this morning I enjoyed a cup and I'm sure I can smell the ocean :)

Visited October 2013
4 Thank kentuckytealady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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