In Stardew Valley, it can be extremely difficult to make money in the early game. Luckily, there is a lesser-known trick that can allow you to make as much as 68,000g in your first month. The key to this wealth is simple: tea saplings.
What are Tea Saplings?
Many players don’t learn about tea saplings until late in the game. You can only get the tea sapling recipe by achieving two hearts with Caroline and entering the room off the back of her kitchen. It’s extremely easy to miss unless someone tells you about it. Luckily, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
The thing that makes tea saplings so special is that they’re very easy to make in the early game, and they sell for 500g. The only ingredients you need are wild seeds, fiber, and wood. All of these resources can be found easily in your first month – and for free no less. This means that selling tea saplings is pure profit; you don’t need to spend money in order to make money!
The first step to unlocking the recipe for tea saplings is to get Caroline up to two friendship hearts. Caroline is Pierre’s wife and lives with him and their daughter Abigail in the general store. Click here to learn more about Caroline, her schedule, and her preferred gifts. In order to reach two hearts with someone, you’ll need to get 500 friendship points.
The fastest way to increase friendship with someone is by following three major steps. The first is to talk to them every day. Talking to a villager once per day gets you 20 friendship points. However, if they’re engaged in another activity, such as exercising, you’ll only get 10 points. So on Tuesdays during the aerobics class, try to talk to Caroline either before 1 PM or after 4 PM.
The second way to quickly increase friendship is to give them two gifts per week. Ideally, you’d give loved gifts, but if you’re trying this in your first spring, Caroline’s loved gifts can be hard to come by. Instead, give Caroline as many daffodils as possible, as they’re one of her liked gifts. Liked gifts will give you 45 friendship points; however, if they’re silver or gold quality, you’ll get 50 and 56 respectively.
The third method of increasing friendship is to see if they’ve posted any Help Wanted quests outside of Pierre’s. This is randomly generated depending on how many villagers you’ve met. You can increase your chances of getting a quest from Caroline by waiting to meet other villagers until after you’ve gotten your two hearts.
To sum up: talk to Caroline every day, give her daffodils twice a week (ideally silver or gold), and complete any help wanted quests she posts. Reasonably speaking, the fastest you’ll be able to get Caroline to two hearts is by Spring 9.
Once you’re at two hearts with Caroline, go to Pierre’s on a sunny day between 9 AM and 5 PM. Go into their kitchen and walk through the door to the left of the radio into Caroline’s sunroom. This will trigger a cut scene in which she tells you all about her green tea ritual.
You can choose whether or not you join her in drinking green tea. Regardless of your choice, what follows is a dream-like vision. At the end of the scene, Caroline invites you to come back to her sunroom any time you want. The following day, Caroline sends you some mail thanking you for joining her in her sanctuary along with the recipe for tea saplings.
During this process of befriending Caroline, you’ll want to start gathering the ingredients to make as many tea saplings as you can.
Gathering the Ingredients
As previously stated, tea saplings are made of three items: two wild seeds, 5 fiber, and 5 wood. These resources are all fairly easy to find, especially in the early game. However, here are some tips and tricks to maximize the amount of each resource you can find.
Wood and Fiber
Wood will be extremely easy to come by in the early game. Your farm is covered in trees that you can chop down and get tons of wood from. If you somehow run out, then go south to Cindersnap Forest and chop even more down.
You might find that you run out of energy quickly in the early game. Normally you might rely on foraged items for energy, but you want to save those to make Spring Seeds. However, once you hit level two foraging you can make field snacks which are a great source of energy. If you need more acorns and maple seeds, chop trees further south near the sewers. You can also gain energy from spring onions and salmonberries.
Fiber can be a little more difficult. The best places to find fiber initially are on your farm, Cindersnap Forest, and parts of town. However, it doesn’t respawn very quickly and you’ll soon have far more wood than fiber. However, fiber will frequently spawn in the mines on floors 11-29, with the highest concentration between 25-29. The fastest way to farm for fiber is to reset one of these floors, ideally 15 or 25, over and over until you get the fiber you need.
The way to make spring seeds is with one dandelion, one daffodil, one leek, and one wild horseradish. Additionally, this recipe makes ten spring seeds, and since you only need two to make tea saplings, every recipe will yield five tea saplings.
The best time to search for forageables is on Saturdays. Forageables spawn throughout the week, and they don’t despawn until Sunday. Therefore, if you make a loop around the entire map on Saturdays, you’ll be able to find the most forageables.
You can also squeeze in one more day of foraging on Sunday the 28. Additionally, if you play on the forest farm, you can find even more forageables that don’t despawn until the season changes.
Another way to get even more spring seeds is by donating one of each forageable to the Community Center. This will reward you with 30 Spring Seeds, which you should plant rather than turn right into tea saplings. Planting them can turn your 30 spring seeds into as many as 70 spring seeds.
Putting it All Together
Once you’ve gathered all of your wood, fiber, and spring seeds, it’s time to start crafting! In a month of dedicated foraging, fiber hunting, and wood gathering, you can make about 270 spring seeds and approximately 600-700 fiber and wood each.
This will give you 135 entire tea saplings! When you finally sell them at the end of the month, you’ll bring in a cool 67,000 gold. Add that to the 500 gold you start the game with, and that brings your total to 68,000.
Can I Use This Technique in the Late Game?
Absolutely! This method continues to be an extremely useful way of quickly making money, especially if you continue to save your foraged items. In fact, here are a few more tips to have this technique continue to work for you well into the late game.
- When Demetrius asks to make either a fruit bat cave or a mushroom cave, go with mushrooms. You can stick common mushrooms in a seed maker and it’ll give you 1-3 Fall Seeds.
- You can also put a wild horseradish, spice berry, or winter root in the seed maker. This will also yield 1-3 Wild Seeds of their respective seasons. You can even farm winter roots in the mines!
- Once you’ve completed the Community Cleanup quest, Linus will give you the recipe for fiber seeds. These are also fairly easy to make, just be sure to hang on to your mixed seeds. This can easily give you 1000 fiber quickly.
- Continue to get wood in the winter by planting tree seeds and fertilizing them. Normally seeds won’t grow in the winter, but they will if you fertilize them. Pine cones are often the easiest to come by.
Making money in the early game can be extremely intimidating. You only start the game with 500 gold, which will buy 25 parsnips or a paltry 10 potatoes. However, with this technique, you’ll find yourself with more money than you know what to do with. Coops? Bag upgrades? House upgrades? The world is your oyster!