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.
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.