Charleston Tea Plantation

Recent Tasting Notes

Nice, gentle, smooth, a little sweet. Enjoying mine without milk. It’s been a while since I’ve had Charleston Tea Plantation’s American Classic, but I think this is the better of the two—less of a sharp tang on the tongue.

P.S. Ices down nicely, too.

ashmanra

I hope to visit this plantation in June when I go to my niece’s wedding!

gmathis

It’s on my bucket list!

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I’ve managed to pick up a little spring cold, and knew I wouldn’t be tasting right today. I chose this tea for the citrus, and was sad but not surprised it tasted like…berries! It was still enjoyable and soothing, which is all that matters :) It was my last spoonful from Jaime’s generous sample. Thanks again!!!

I put some Rosy Earl Grey in for the next steep and…yep. Berries. I guess having everything taste like berries is a pretty good way to have your tastebuds wackadoo!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Bigelow Tea

Jacqueline…happy to hear you were still able to enjoy the flavor, even though you felt you taste buds were a tad off. Hope you continue to enjoy the Governor Gray, in sickness and in health!
Kathy for Bigelow Tea

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Today is a very, very Earl Grey day for me :) I decided that I simply must have more tea today, and remembered I had the Governor Gray that Jaime sent me here at work!

It’s delightful! Really light and – I don’t know – the word refreshing comes to mind. The tea and the bergamot flavoring combine for a very lemony taste. A perfect afternoon tea. This is another one that I think people with “bergamot problems” would like. :)

I also think it’s REALLY neat to try an American grown tea!! I have to put the Charleston Tea Plantation on the little radar in my head as a place to go for a really cool road trip. Look! http://www.charlestonteaplantation.com/About-Us.aspx

Thank you once again Jaime! Not only a good tea but an interesting tidbit of Americana!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Jaime

It’s a great place to visit! I went there this past March. Brought a lunch, had a cup of Plantation Peach (iced and sweet, but still very good), and sat at the picnic tables just watching the workers get the plants ready for the coming first flush. It’s so peaceful there, I didn’t want to leave! Glad you liked this blend!

gmathis

Their American Classic bagged blend isn’t bad … just a good Ceylon (can you call an American tea that)?

Jaime

Hmm…no clue. I do love American Classic. Wish they had it in loose-leaf.

Bigelow Tea

Jacqueline,
So glad to hear that you enjoyed your tea!

Gmathis, the tea is 100% grown at the Bigelow Tea owned Charleston Tea Plantation… just to clarify.

Thanks,

Valorie for Bigelow Tea

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I didn’t even know America had a tea plantation! While vacationing in South Carolina I happened across this, and, being me, had to buy some. I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised at the taste of it. Don’t steep it too long, as it’s heavier than most, but it’s a perfectly drinkable standard black. This tea is bland if you’re used to flavored teas or other malty/oaky/bright/coppery blacks, but I do recommend picking up a box if you’re in that neighborhood, if only for the novelty.

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I picked this one up in Chapel Hill, too. The only bottled tea that I’ve ever really had (and that was at least five or so years ago) was peach Snapple tea. I used to really like it. I’ve also been really interested in the Charleston Tea Plantation since I first learned of it. The other day a colleague picked up a DVD from the plantation for me, which was great fun and is keeping this spot in the forefront of my memory.

So, when I saw they had a peach tea, I thought it’d be lovely for iced tea at this time of year. And I really think it was! I carried a bottle of it around with me at Earth Day and it was refreshing and tasty. It was just barely sweetened with sugar in the raw, which I think brought out the peach. Yum!

Cofftea

Awww… this one makes me miss my boyfried! MUST GET! But I’ll wait til I can go to the plantation myself. Glad I saw this one though, I would have logged it under Bigelow when I do try it.

Cofftea

boyfried??? LOL oops. I’m not voilent I swear- I love him very much even though that sentence doesn’t make it seem so:)

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47

I haven’t been writing as many tasting notes lately.. but I’m still drinking the same amount of tea.. they have just been the old favorites!

Thanks so much Erin, for sending some of this one to try. This is definitely a better black tea base than most teabags (not that I’m strictly teabags at this point!) The leaves really fill up the teabag. I’m not in love with the bergamot though. There is an off flavor that tastes like something I can’t quite place. Maybe a tangy asparagus or brussel sprout? I have no idea why. I think it reminds me of the earl gray that almost scared me away for good.. but now I know there are plenty of better ones out there. Luckily I only have the one bag! I appreciate being able to try it anyway.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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85

Cuppa the afternoon…..

I received this tea as a gift for being a good dog sitter last week. I have to say, I was pretty excited, even though this is bagged tea. I am thinking some loose leaf from Charleston is on my wish list. I do find it very good and satisfying. I would not call it a tea for my tea snob days, but it is a very basic black. I am thinking it would also make a stellar iced tea. It is so cool to have tea grown within driving distance of my house, even if it is a 10 hour drive!

Mug method using only 8 oz of water and one tea bag.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

that’s an awesome gift!

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58

thanks so much Erin, for sending a couple of these Bigelow Charleston Tea Plantation teabags to try a while back. Bigelow is one of the teabag brands I like, so I expected to like these! This pyramid bag seems to have more leaves than their other teabags. Sadly, I think I overbrewed it by a couple minutes. The taste was still fine, but I think it might have been better and with more raspberry flavor if I didn’t have it brewing for so long. There is a nice sweet raspberry scent and slight flavor, but not much. The black tea is definitely a step up from Bigelow’s usual bags, but I don’t think they are usually anything to complain about. I’ve been trying to write tasting notes for teas people have been kind enough to send me… I’m slowly making my way! I really just have a list of teas I haven’t written tasting notes for though.

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90

I’m having a cup of this with my breakfast this morning, since I’ve had such good experiences with my other Charleston Tea Plantation teas the past two days. This one is probably my least favorite out of all of them. That’s not because this isn’t a great tea, but I just prefer raspberry and mint flavors more than peach. The peach flavor in this tea is similar to the Rockville Raspberry flavor in that it reminds me almost of a jelly or jam like peach taste. And you can taste the black tea too, which always makes me happy. This really is a good cup of tea!

-Dry blend has small pieces of black tea leaves and twigs.
-Dry leaves smell lightly of black tea and peaches. Tea liquor aroma is of sweet peaches.
-Tea liquor is a clear medium golden brown color.
-Malty flavor with a juicy peach finish.
-Best with milk and sweetener.
-Very good tea. Nice black tea base with a ripe peach flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
GiggleGoddess

sounds yummy!

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100

A refreshing minty aroma wafts out of this tea tin as you open it. It reminds me of the way that a fresh mint plant smells. The flavor is perfect – simple, fresh, sweet mint. I had a cup of this iced at the Charleston Tea Plantation and it was heavenly on a hot and humid day. There is nothing artificial in the mint flavor of this tea. Although I like strong black teas best, this is my favorite green tea by far!

-Dry blend has small pieces of greenish brown tea leaves.
-Dry leaves smell strongly of spearmint. Tea liquor aroma is of green tea and sweet mint.
-Tea liquor aroma is a clear dark yellow color.
-Fresh mint flavor with a sweet and cooling finish.
-Best with sweetener.
-Excellent tea. A refreshing cup of natural sweet mint.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90

Yesterday I started my spring break off right. . . by having allergy testing done. It was not much fun and I took Benadryl and slept pretty much the rest of the day. So this morning I needed an extra special tea to get me back into my routine.

We visited the Charleston Tea Plantation last April and it was wonderful! Everything is so beautiful there, and we loved seeing all of the tea plants and then watching how they are made into tea. Of course we picked up a few tins of tea while we were there, and this was one of the flavors. The smell of it isn’t overwhelmingly of raspberry, just a nice light black tea with a little berry aroma. The black tea is definitely still noticeable in the flavor as well, with a deep, sweet raspberry finish. It’s not the truest of raspberry flavors, but it doesn’t have any artificial fake notes to it. It’s more like a raspberry jelly or candy taste, I think. Kind of like the raspberry filling in a piece of chocolate. Overall a wonderful cup of tea and just what I needed to start the day.

-Dry blend has small pieces of black tea leaves and twigs.
-Dry leaves smell lightly of black tea and raspberry. Tea liquor aroma is of sweet raspberries.
-Tea liquor is a clear medium golden brown color.
-Malty flavor with a deep raspberry finish.
-Best with sweetener. Milk optional.
-Very good tea. Nice black tea base with a raspberry candy flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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67

I was a bit worried at first as this tea smelled STRONGLY of seaweed while in the bag, but it is quite nice brewed! Nothing too special, but I am enjoying my cup. Vegetal, smooth- maybe just a hint of the seaweed in the background… maybe that’s why they call it island green ;)

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86

I’m not a big fan for Charleston Plantations tea when it’s hot,but this raspberry tea… When you ice it,my god is it good! For a specific workout tonic; I brewed this hot,then added it to a gallon of cold water along with 2 scoops of iced tea mix and a scoop of sugar. If the initial taste of iced tea isn’t enough,take a moment to ponder a raspberry aftertaste that lingers to the last sip (in a good way)!

Bigelow Tea

Really enjoyed reading your review of our Rockville Raspberry, your recipe sounds amazing…..thanks for sharing
Kathy for Bigelow Tea

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42

THis was part of the sampler given to me as a gift from the south. It has a really odd taste,as if I were to eat the plant straight out of the dirt. It feels more like a tea I would have to be in the mood for,so i’ll keep it tucked away for a good breakfast, Who knows? It might be really good then!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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74

I found this in the cabinet from who knows when, I made it and…… I like it! I have to put some milk and sugar in there because I find it a little bitter plain (I am kinda a newbie tea drinker, so I an trying to sweeten my drinks less and less as I get used to the tea taste) but overall it is pretty light and citrusy.

Bigelow Tea

We’re very happy to hear of your recent discovery…so glad you enjoyed your first cup of Governor Gray
Kathy for Bigelow Tea

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93

Damn good…nuff said.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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88

I think it is really cool to be able to drink tea that is commercially grown and produced in my home state. For a long time, we South Carolinians were the only folks in the country who had that priviledge (see the IMPORTANT UPDATE!!! below). What has made the honor even sweeter is that the Charleston Tea Plantation teas are also very good.

Since South Carolina is also the #1 peach mecca in the country, I was looking forward to tasting this blend. When I opened the container, the pre-brewed tea leaves had a very nice fresh peaches aroma. There was no physical evidence of peach chunks among the leaves, however.

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for five minutes. The result was a reddish gold brew.

With the first one or two sips, my tastebuds could not locate the peaches. After the third and fourth sips, though, a subtle peach taste began to emerge. Sip #5 and on continued the very light and unassuming peach taste with a full Charleston Plantation tea flavor alongside it. There was no bitterness and I have no complaint about the flavor, except that I prefer strong flavors in everything I eat and drink.

If you crave robust fruity taste in your flavored teas, you may be disappointed by this blend. However, if subtlety is your desire, this tea is tasty, even, and pleasant. The discernible peach taste is fresh and natural, just not particularly hearty.

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!!
Many thanks to Steepster Bonnie, who just made me aware of another tea producer in the lower 48 states (besides South Carolina)! About five years ago, Sakuma Brothers Farms Market Stand in Burlington, Washington began selling teas grown and produced there. Here is more information about that: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20070911/BIZ/109110041/-1/headlines

Also, Steepster Bonnie put me on the trail of a collective of small growers in Hawaii who started a pilot project producing and marketing tea several years ago. I will do some research on that too.

I can see that I still have a lot to learn about the world of teas, but it’s a fun adventure!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Not so Stoo but I understand you might be the oldest tea growers, not sure. There is a tea farm in the Skagit Valley in Washington State, and the of course you can’t forget Hawaii! But noone does sweet tea and peaches like the South!

Stoo

Thanks for educating me, Bonnie. I was not aware of the tea farm in Washington State. I didn’t know they were growing and processing tea up there. The Charleston Tea Plantation would probably be older. Hawaii I was aware of, but I should have clarified that I was talking about the lower 48 states. :-) I will correct my claim in my tasting note.

Bonnie

Don’t. change anything! I doubt many people know about Washington but I have family that lives in the area. The farm has an online store.

Stoo

No problem, Bonnie. Being a former journalist, it is pounded into me to strive to keep my writing accurate. Feel free to correct me anytime I say something that isn’t factual. I greatly appreciate it! Plus, there is no discord or competition between the two states that I am aware of. The Civil War ended a long time ago. :-) I plan to order some tea from the Skagit Valley. I’d love to try it!

ScottTeaMan

Many years ago I bout their Raspberry Black (loose), and it was quite delicious. I did find that the raspberry was more subtle, much like your description of the peach. I remember liking the more subtle flavoring of the tea.

ashmanra

I know Charleston Tea Plantation touts themselves as America’s only tea garden. Could it be that they once were and they just haven’t changed it on their logo, or is there some part of the definition of tea garden that would still make that statement apply? The fact that it is open to the public for tours? But I think most tea plantations are! So I don’t know!

Stoo: I knew I liked you! You remind me a little of my godfather, and he was a journalist, too! You are younger, though.

Bonnie

Stoo, what’s with the 22 likes in a row? Are we going steady? Your sweetheart better not get wind of this!

Stoo

Hi ScottTeaMan!

Raspberry Black is the only Charleston Tea Plantation tea that I haven’t tried. I hope to cross that one off of my tea bucket list soon! There is nothing wrong with subtle flavor. I’m just a little taste-challenged with my constant sinus allergies. Therefore, flavors have to be sand-blasted into my tastebuds in order for me to fully appreciate them. :-)

Stoo

Hi ashmanra!

From what I’ve been able to learn so far, it does appear that the Charleston Tea Plantation was the only and oldest still working U.S. tea plantation until recently. That’s ok. The more the merrier! :-)

And thanks…I like you too! ;-)

Stoo

Hey Bonnie.

SSSHHH! Our clandestine and steamy (or is it steepy?) tea affair is supposed to be a secret! ;-)
But, besides that, I’ve been feeling guilty about not getting out to Steepster as much as I should to review other people’s tasting notes. I love reading them all and I always learn something about teas in general and new teas for me to try. You just happened to be one of the first Steepster friends that I got to today. :-)

Bonnie

Shhhhh! Ok…won’t tell a soul! ; )

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84

I have had the 12ct with loose leaf inside the bags, which was VERY good. The 12ct box has a South Carolina Grown Certification seal on it. All of their products, besides the 48tagless have the seal on it, besides this one. I have asked a few times about why this is, but have yet to recieve a straight answer. How come when all other American Classic Tea products have the certification, why does the 48 tagless not? It seems peculiar to me. However, the tea I have tried of the 12ct box was extremely good and well balanced.

Mike

I have just recieved word that the 48tagless is in fact grown in America, I am still slightyl suspicious….but I have to believe it

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99

American Classic Black Tea from Charleston Tea Plantation is a real (Lipton style) black tea with flavor and body, nice without anything else added. It steeps in 2 – 3 minutes and never fails to please. The plantation is stunning, beautiful but management and financial difficulties prevent its full operation. http://south-carolina-plantations.com/charleston/charleston-tea.html

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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68

Island Green tea from Charleston Tea Plantation is an innocent, low-processed green tea. If you like strong, bracing tea, this will taste like grass cuttings. So steep one tea bag per tea cup for at least 5 minutes. It is fresh, clean, light, like a Stephen Foster song about the old South that drifts through the air. It comes in little cloth pouches that resemble ladies’ hosiery. We have things to learn from the Chinese and Indians before the tea will become popular. Apparently the variable climate of South Carolina makes growing the tea a challenge. The plantation is a nice tourist attraction, but I prefer their black tea to this innocent green.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 5 min, 45 sec

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1

First, let me state that I like peaches. If a peach is just right, I love it.

Ok, I was in South Carolina-home of the only tea garden in the States. South Carolina is also the #1 producer of peaches in the States-sorry, Georgia. So, buying this tea was pretty much a no-brainer.

Loose tea in a car and in hotel rooms was too much a hassle, so I waited until I got home to try it-what a disaster. I opened the tin and was overwhelmed by the most intense, artificial peach aroma I have ever encountered. There was no way anyone was ever drinking this stuff on any plantation. It smelled EXACTLY like a peach soda pop I had had several years ago. They really poured it on. Strong enough to be a car air freshener-and better suited, imho.

The loose leafs? I don’t recall. However, there was not a drop of peach chunks, blossoms-anything-in there. This is a PEACH producing state, please give me some peaches in your peach tea!

The tea? What tea? The liquor was overwhelmed by the peach perfume factory in my cup! The tea had no chance. After several failed attempts to find a brew time and temp that might bring out a little of the tea, I gave up and happily unloaded it on my sister.

I see that the pyramid bag version of this tea has a few decent reviews. Maybe they used some sort of different flavoring at that time. I don’t know, but I have convinced myself to give this a 1.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Blake

It’s always heartbreaking to see a clear 1+1 scenario and somehow wind up with -12.

Scott B

Indeed it is. Can we give it a -12? I started out in my mind give this about a 25-30, but then I got so worked up writing this review that I downgraded to a 1

Scott B

Seriously, I am the only reviewer and I give this tea a 1 and Steepster says, “Nope, 59”?!

Blake

Hahaha…I’ve been wondering how that averaging system works without multiple entries.

Scott B

There’s probably a thread about it in the discussion board. I think it’s like the SAT’s-they get a 59 for putting their name on the label! My single reviews for Banana Crepe, Greek Mountain, and Golden Needles were not adjusted too much-but all were adjusted upwards. I am thinking that they estimate the average tea to be a 75.

Bigelow Tea

Scott B, so sorry to read how disappointed you were with the Charleston Plantation Peach….we certainly appreciate the honesty of your review. I will certainly share your comments with our Marketing Tea for you
Kathy for Bigelow Tea

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72

Bought this while on vacation in South Carolina. It’s a basic, no-frills green tea. Nothing complex, but nothing that your palate needs to adjust to either. Slightly vegetal. Unlikely to offend, but just as unlikely to induce rabid affection. The loose tea was finely chopped? The tin lasted forever. For me, more a reminder of a great vacation than a great tea, but if you want to try a tea grown in the States, it’s not bad.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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80

Today I get to control how this is brewed. Go me! I used a healthy spoon and boiling water for 2 ½ minutes. I thought 3, Ashmanra suggested 2, and so I compromised :) The liquor is nice and dark. It smells much lighter than the dry leaf suggests. One comment on the wet leaf – this is CTC and the wet leaf does plump up nicely but not quite as much as say Twinings.

The taste is interesting. The bergamot is a tad lighter than I prefer in an EG, but tasty. It comes in late in the sip. The first taste is a very smooth bit of malt, emphasis on smooth. There is a drying aftertaste yet this doesn’t seem astringent when sipping. As the cup cools the bergamot becomes more pronounced, which appeals to me. I let the last of the cup get cold and I liked it. This would make a good iced tea. Today, the second cup is not as good as the first but still drinkable.

This is a pleasant cup. I can’t think of anything to compare it to. It is as far removed from Twinings as it is Harney & Sons. Obviously, the American aspect of it appeals to me. It breaks the rules of tradition and it still works. I started to give this a 76 as in ‘spirit of’, but in reality it is a little more interesting than that. If I could buy this locally, I would keep a small tin around for the novelty alone. I was told it was $6 for 2.3 oz (50g).

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec
gmathis

Charleston Tea’s American Classic is another good’un. Basic and unpretentious.

ashmanra

LOL! I just mailed you a bunch of Charleston tea in your box, gmathis! I thought maybe it would be new to you since it is sort of “local”! Heehee! Well, maybe you won’t have had these flavors yet.

gmathis

Cool—actually, the Classic is the only one I’ve tried. (All this talk of SC makes me miss my Tea Shop Mysteries. I think there’s a new one out.)

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