Cloudwater was born of good fortune and much hard work. The constellation of events that conspired to give Kaua'i its first tea farm brought together an inspired young woman, ten acres of tropical rain forest and brush, and the vision of producing premium tea in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The path that led Michelle Rose to a life of tea began in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. There, as a visiting college student, she began a home stay with a family in one of the world's premiere tea growing areas. The momentum of this initiation into the culture of tea carried her forward for two decades of study and practice of nutrition, cuisine, and hospitality. Ultimately she was guided to the edge of a remote nature preserve at the base of an extinct volcano. Ten years later Cloudwater was producing extraordinary tea.
The challenges of pioneering a novel agriculture on the island of Kaua'i are as many and as varied as are the rewards. Michelle credits good luck, resilience, and the wisdom of Nigel Melican, her mentor, for the success she has enjoyed.
There is no single attribute that gives Cloudwater its distinctive terroir. The bountiful rains brought by the Trade Winds to this mountainside plateau are ideal for the original three Sinensis and one Assamica cultivar that are the original tea garden's foundation plantings. Abundant sun, cool breezes, the shade of bamboo hedges, and native trees contribute to create a remarkable climate. Local friends attribute much of the success to the mana, or spiritual energy that is the hallmark of this unusual location.
This is the beginning of Kaua'i, and Hawai'i, as recognized sources for world class tea. These are the early days of tea culture in the mid-Pacific.
“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” – Thich Nat Hahn