Charleston Tea Gardens


Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Charleston Tea Gardens

Postby skywarrior » Dec 5th, '07, 21:47

Ok, yes, yes, I know it's owned by Bigelow. But something within me is simply intrigued over the thought of an American tea, http://www.bigelowtea.com/act/

I seem to recall trying the tea many years ago, but in bags. I don't have any particular impressions. They now have loose tea too. Has anyone tried this tea? What did you think?
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Postby Mary R » Dec 5th, '07, 22:52

The bagged tea is mostly African in nature, I think. A very, very, very little percentage of it is actually from Charleston. I called that plantation earlier in the year, though, and asked about their single estate stuff. They had some at the time, but I'm looking at the website now and see that they offer four blends: Charleston Breakfast, Governor Gray, Rockville Raspberry, and Plantation Peach. I don't know how much actual Charleston tea is in these loose varieties, but they are all much less expensive than the single estate they quoted me earlier.
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Postby skywarrior » Dec 5th, '07, 23:23

Interesting. So I'm not the only one who is intrigued over a tea plantation in the US?

That's too bad about the blend. Do you think it suggests it isn't quite the quality they'd like or something else?
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Postby Mary R » Dec 6th, '07, 00:38

I'm sure quality has something to do with it, but supply too. One little tea garden for a line in one of the bigger bag companies? It needs Kenyans.
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Postby Wesli » Dec 6th, '07, 03:48

TOO BAD
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Postby henley » Dec 6th, '07, 10:53

I found out about the plantation a few months ago. After showing my 4 yr old how tea is made from leaves, she asked if we could go outside & pick some leaves to make tea. It was then I started searching the internet for a way to show her where tea actually comes from. Since Charleston is a regular place we visit, we are planning a trip to the tea plantation once they start production again in April. Don't know about the quality of the tea but regardless it should be a fun mother/daughter outing.

Something I have wondered... I noticed Bigleow's mint tea is referred to as "Plantation Mint". Will be interesting to find out if the mint is actually grown in Charleston.
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Postby Mary R » Dec 6th, '07, 11:32

If you can, you might want to try to schedule your Charleston trip for their "First Flush Festival." Next year (2008) it will fall on May 17. I believe that is also the first day they make their unblended single estate first flush tea available for purchase. Their website also implies that everyone who goes to the festival gets a sample of that tea...which would be a nice perk.

And because I'm a supreme nerd, I called the plantation (843-559-0383) and asked about the blends I mentioned earlier. Unlike the bagged tea, they are made only with leaves from the Charleston plantation. The woman I spoke with didn't know if all the leaves in any blend were from a single flush, though. I guess it really doesn't matter that much with flavored tea.

I don't think Charleston will be the only US plantation for long--didn't some berry farm in the Pacific Northwest plant a bunch of tea for commercial harvest recently? I remember that news story, but not when it was projected to open.
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Postby divintea » Dec 6th, '07, 11:59

That story is so adorable, henley. Please please keep us updated how the outing goes, even though it's not for a while. Your daughter is so astute! Maybe she is secretly brewing leaves outside right now to figure out her mystery!
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Postby Wesli » Dec 6th, '07, 15:13

So Mary, you're saying this place can deliver to us our first American terroir tea?
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Postby Mary R » Dec 6th, '07, 15:54

That would be an adequate abridgment of my anteceding affirmations, yes.

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Postby skywarrior » Dec 6th, '07, 16:04

Mary R wrote:And because I'm a supreme nerd, I called the plantation (843-559-0383) and asked about the blends I mentioned earlier. Unlike the bagged tea, they are made only with leaves from the Charleston plantation. The woman I spoke with didn't know if all the leaves in any blend were from a single flush, though. I guess it really doesn't matter that much with flavored tea.


Their flavored loose teas are from the plantation? Awesome!

I would seriously love the concept of having an American tea plantation or two. I have no idea if it would be good tea, but it's a start.
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Postby thor0298 » Dec 11th, '07, 10:14

I have a box of American Classic Tea from there that I received as a gift recently. I haven't tried it yet but maybe one I am done with the cup I am currently drinking I'll give it a try and write some impressions.

It is a very smooth blend of black tea. No bitterness at all. The smell before making it was very fresh. A very nice blend of tea.
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Postby Antony » Dec 11th, '07, 22:01

You're talking about the American Classic teabags right?
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Postby thor0298 » Dec 13th, '07, 12:03

if you are asking me then yes
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Postby forkyfork » May 5th, '08, 15:15

Thought I would give this topic a little bit of a bump.

I am planning a trip to the tea plantation this Friday, since my boyfriend and I are driving up to NC from Florida. It's really on the way.

I was wondering if anyone has actually been here and has done the tour. How long does it take?

Unfortunately we are going to miss the festival the next weekend, but they still may be processing the day before.
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