Ohio farmer Dan Tropea is winning over consumers with his locally grown tea.

In Mint Condition

Student activity based on “In mint condition” published in the March/April/May 2007 Our Ohio magazine.


Academic Content Standard
(Science Grade: 4): Scientific Inquiry – Students will select the appropriate tools and use relevant safety procedures to measure and record volume and temperature in metric and English units as they conduct safe, simple investigations or experiments to answer questions.

(Note: Key terms used from Ohio’s Academic Content Standards are in bold below).

Discussion points

  1. Read the article about Dan Tropea and his tea making venture in Ohio.
  2. Discuss what this farmer is doing that is so unique in Ohio. Why did he decide to grow tea? Why is it special to grow tea in Ohio?
  3. How did Dan begin his tea making business? Who did he talk to for information about starting his business?
  4. What steps does Dan follow to produce his tea? (Ex. From growing to selling his tea.)

Hands on at Home

  • A tea taste test using scientific inquiry.
  1. When conducting a tea taste test, what tools would be needed to conduct a test? Make a list of these appropriate tools. Ex. Measuring cups, measuring spoons, teapot, tea infuser, thermometer, paper and pencil for recording observations.
  2. Develop and design a tasting investigation for different types of teas.
  3. Observations can be categories like color, taste, smell, overall like or dislike.
  4. Consider purchasing one of each of the four main types of tea: green tea, white tea, oolong tea and black tea from a local store. Other flavors and blends could also be purchased for taste testing. Consider purchasing loose tea as well as bagged tea.
  5. Keep the conditions of your experiment the same for each tea.
  6. Consider heating the water to a specific temperature using a thermometer.
  7. Use the exact same amount of water for each tea.
  8. Use the exact same amount of tea for each sample.
  9. Which tools of measurement did you use?
  10. “Formulate instructions and communicate data in a manner that allows others to understand and repeat” this investigation. (Grade Four Ohio Academic Content Standard; Scientific Inquiry)


  1. Why is tea grown in India, China and Japan? Why is Ohio not a major producer of tea? Hint: Look under “cultivation” at www.wikipedia.org.
  2. Health: Research “tea” at: www.wikipedia.org. What are the health benefits of drinking tea?
  3. Economics: How is tea packaged for selling? Why?
  4. Language Arts: What does the author of this article mean by “the answers lie in the tea leaves?” Why did he use this phrase?

This student activity was prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City. She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.