The Last Of My Inca Teas – Tawantin Black Tea

So, I have reached the final review of my Inca Teas that I have been shoring up for the past month.   Not going to lie, it’s kid of sad to write about the final tea in this four-part series.   All the teas were something new, unique, and I give Tea-EO Ryan Florio A LOT of credit for quitting his job and going into an industry he knew nothing about and yet coming out with this fantastic blend for the public.

The tea that I saved for last?   A full-bodied Tawantin black tea.

Tawantin Black Tea

Tawantin Black Tea

As has been the norm with this tea, Ryan ensured that we were able to see each bit of the tea within the drink, including his famous purple corn.   The drink consists of three different types of black tea (two of which are organic) and some purple corn.   The website explains, “The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu, “four parts together.” In Quechua, the term Tawantin is a group of four things (tawa, meaning “four”, with the suffix -ntin which names a group).”   Very simple compared to the other teas which had blends of fruits all over, but don’t be fooled!   This does not lessen the tea one bit.

Instead of the typical purple look I have been getting from all the teas, I have the deep, rich brown shade similar to coffee, which is typical of black teas.   I also got the black tea smell, a strong earthy scent with slightly sweet undertones that is unmistakable for tea.

I brewed it in my cup and have been sipping on it since dinner time, around 7:00 PM (it’s 9:30 now).   Though the tea has gone cold, that is not a bad thing!   Hot or cold, this tea has proven to be a pleasure to drink.   I can see it being better for a morning time drink rather than an evening drink like I am having it right now, since I can promise you that the caffeine jolt is going to keep me up all night.   What I also like about this tea is that sometimes, when I let my black tea go cold, I see this film that develops on the side of my mug (not exactly the most appealing thing to witness as you sip away).   That, by the way, is due to the calcium carbonate found in the water and the tea.   However, with this tea, not so!   Definitely a plus, since the scum that forms is not exactly the most appetizing view.

So, all in all, now that we are done with the Inca Teas, I can confidently say to give it a try!   Ryan assured me that other types will be coming out, so keep your eyes open for new ones.   Prior to working with Ryan, I had never heard of purple corn.   Now, I am glad I had the opportunity to try it, love it, and search for more.

A Virtual Trip to The Charleston Tea Plantation

Correct me if I’m wrong, but my personal impression of tea in America is that people tend to reach for the coffee pot before they reach for the tea kettle.   While tea is boasted to have numerous health benefits, something about the addictive coffee still has people hooked on the beverage here in the USA.

However, even with all its coffee obsessions, specialty stores boasting coffee and elaborate contraptions to brew a cup o’ joe, America still has only one place where there are coffee plantations – Hawaii.

While tea cannot boat more than one tea plantation either, it does get you to think, no?

So we’re going to take a virtual tour of this tea plantation and what it is that makes this particular one special – The Charleston Tea Plantation in Wadmalaws Island, South Carolina.


The Wadmalaws Island, approximately 10 miles long and 6 miles wide, was established in mid-June 1666 when Captain Robert Sanford and the crew of the Berkeley Bay landed on Rockville, South Carolina.   The land is generally viewed as being the most untainted, its only connection to the mainland a bridge that crosses over Church Creek.

The plantation was formally established in 1987.   The soil is sandy, the climate sub-tropical, and an average rainfall at a whopping 52 inches per year, the island is perfect for growing tea with over 320 varieties on the full 127 acres.   Their tea plants are used to grow American green and black teas in particular.   Though technically, the tea leaf can manufacture Oolong, white tea, etc, the company has been so busy with their green and black teas that the company decided to focus on those two.   Since the land cannot be commercially developed, it is a picturesque island that has still remained untouched.

Climbing Onto The Tour Trolley

Climbing Onto The Tour Trolley

The only tea to be produced by these tender tea leaves?   American Classic Tea.   The tea is harvested in May and is celebrated at the plantation’s annual First Flush FesTEAval, complete with music, entertainment and, of course, tea.   Harvesting continues until the end of September, beginning of October, when the plants are allowed to rest for the season (hey, tea needs sleep, too!).

The Charleston Tea Plantation prides itself on the fact that they are an all-natural tea.   Their tea are flavored with natural essential oils.   They do not decaffeinate any of their teas since that would require the use of chemicals.   The plantation does not even use pesticides to protect the plants from all the bugs.


This proud Green plantation hosts special events, tours and totes a history for America to be proud of.   Their tea is widely enjoyed but both new sippers and purists and their plantation is a beauty to behold.   See about getting a visit in when you are in the area!   You will not be disappointed.

An Introduction to Beautiful, Bold, Bitter Black Tea

Black tea is the most fermented tea out of all the teas available.   With a rich, black look that resembles coffee, black tea is perfect for those transitioning from the coffee world into the tea world.   Black tea was originally designed strictly for export from China (where it is known as red tea, due to the red edges of the oxidized leaves), since it was considered to be of a lesser quality of tea.   Thus, due to the export, it is the most popular tea outside of Asia.

Black tea goes through a nine-step process: plucking, sorting, cleaning, withering, rolling, oxidizing, drying, and sorting.   After the tea leaves are picked from the Camellia sinensis plant , they are sorted according to size.   Tea leaves are then cleaned of any dirt, rocks or twigs that might have been accidentally picked up with the leaves.   After all, no one wants to drink tea with bits of dirt in it!

The leaves are only dried slightly, so that their moisture content goes from 70-80% to about 60-65%.   This allows the leaves to be soft enough to roll without tearing the leaves.   Depending on the tea, leaves are either rolled right away or chopped and then rolled.   They are then oxidized, letting the leaves brown with a red tip.   Next, they are cooled and dried, leaving only 3% of the water content in the leaves.   Finally, the product is sorted according to grade.   Note that grade does not communicate quality of tea – it only indicates the size of the tea leaves.

Black Tea Would Be The Best Tea To Transition To If You Are Trying To Rid A Coffee Habit

Black Tea Would Be The Best Tea To Transition To If You Are Trying To Rid A Coffee Habit

Just like most teas, black tea creates a calming, soothing effect.   Something about the warmth of the cup in your hands when it is raining or snowing outside just brings inner peace.   It is also believed that black tea can lower blood pressure.

Black teas also greatly help the heart.   It acts as a gentle stimulant for both the heart and the whole circulatory system.   It also helps prevent build-ups in the arteries and veins that could potentially cause strokes or heart attacks.   This great beverage also helps to prevent the intake of cholesterol in the blood stream.

Black tea is rumored to help with weight loss.   Certain varieties are rumored to help with digestion as well.

Black tea has a rather hot brewing temperature – 190 – 212 degrees.   Depending on the tea, the temperature will need to be adjusted.   A typical brewing time is 3-4 minutes.   If brewed for longer, the tea will tend to have more caffeine and start getting a very bitter taste.   However, a typical cup of black tea has about 20% the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee.   The release of the caffeine differs as well.   While a cup of coffee gives one a jolt of caffeine with the stereotypical crash at the end, a cup of black tea does a slow release and allows the drinker to have a gentle stream of caffeine through the day.

If you are a coffee drinker, then black tea should be an easy transition to go to.   Some teas might be a bit more of a pleasant surprise due to the different aftertaste.   However, for those who are just dabbling in tea and do not drink coffee, keep far away!   It is a tasty beverage that will take some time to get used to due to its strong taste and bitterness.

Photo Credit:

Onestop News.   19 July 2011.   Onestop News: black-tea-150×150.jpeg, 16 Nov 2011.   JPEG.

Source Credit:   “China Black Tea.”   Web.   16 Nov 2011. 

The Fragrant Leaf.   “Black Tea Production.”   The Fragrant Leaf, 2011.   Web.   16 Nov 2011.   “Tea Encyclopedia: Black Tea.”   Gottatea Corp.   Gottatea Corp, 2010.   Web.   16 Nov 2011.

Narien Teas.   “Tea: Black Tea.”   Narien Teas.   Narien Teas.   Web.   16 Nov 2011.

Onestop News.   “Comparing Efficacy of Black Tea & Green Tea.”   Onestop News.   Onestop News, 19 July 2011.   Web.   16 Nov 2011.