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Archives for posts tagged ‘american classic tea’

Bigelow Tea Owned Charleston Tea Plantation, A Tea Journey Past and Present

Bigelow Tea has been an American classic since 1945 and while we all know and love the company’s tasty tea, Bigelow has another gem to celebrate, the Bigelow owned Charleston Tea Plantation which is America’s largest working tea garden located on the historic Wadmalaw Island. This South Carolina destination has ideal climate for growing the Camellia Sinesis (tea!) plant. Bigelow purchased the plantation in 2003 and has created a literal tea oasis; besides producing American Classic Tea, the plantation is also a beautiful setting for weddingseducational tours, and even a variety of music festivals.

NPR shared what life is like on the Charleston Tea Plantation in an interview with America’s only fulltime tea taster, William Barclay Hall. Hall gives fascinating insight into growing tea the old-fashioned way:

  • The Charleston Tea Plantation grows cuttings in a nursery for four years instead of planting seeds. These bushes are, unbelievably, descendants of the same plants that were first brought to region in the 1700s.
  • Talk about a taste for tea — Hall is a third generation tea taster (his father and grandfather held the roles before him) who was trained in London. During his training, he tasted as many as 800 teas a day, five days a week!
  • Tea is one of the only commodities in the world bought and sold based on taste, according to Hall. Because tea is harvested on average every 15 days, the taste is always changing based on everything from the temperature, to the amount of rain, to the time of year.
  • Pests stay away from tea! The caffeine and tannins in tea repel insects, so the Charleston Tea plantation doesn’t need to use any pesticide, herbicides or fungicides.
  • Tea leaves are placed on “withering box” screens for 18 hours, and then macerated in a grinder. Hall then steeps, tastes and blends every single batch until he thinks it tastes absolutely right.

Now you know: a little piece of tea history continues on in the modern world, all thanks to Bigelow!

Steep Yourself In History At Bigelow Tea’s Charleston Tea Plantation

bigelow tea charlston tea plantation

Imagine an island oasis filled with tea plants as far as the eye can see, and you’ll get a sense of why Charleston Tea Plantation is such a special part of the Bigelow Tea family. But to truly appreciate this storybook vision brought to life, come visit and steep yourself in tea history!

Tucked away on 127 unspoiled acres on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Charleston Tea Plantation is America’s largest working tea garden and home to American Classic Tea. Visitors are invited to tour the tea garden via trolley, learn about tea production, or even to host a magical wedding amid ancient oak trees and the lush camellia sinensis (tea) plants.

Bigelow Tea purchased the tea garden in 2003, partnering with former owner William Barclay Hall, a third-generation tea taster and tea expert who took over the property in 1987. His expertise in tea growing and production, coupled with Bigelow Tea’s 70 years of experience in the tea business, has ensured the preservation of a historical gem for future generations.

The story of tea growing in America dates to the 1700s, when the first attempts were made to propagate the camellia sinensis plant in South Carolina. Not until 1888, when Dr. Charles Shepard founded the Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville, South Carolina, did American-grown tea become a reality. It was Shepard’s plants that were transplanted to a former potato farm on Wadmalaw Island in 1963 and thrive there today in 320 varieties.

Check out the Charleston Tea Garden Pinterest page for more engaging stories and photos, and start planning your step back in tea time with a trip to Charleston!

Bigelow Tea Made Just For Our Troops!

One of my greatest joys at Bigelow Tea is the work we can do to try to make a difference.  We just finished producing 100,000 boxes of a special tea made just for our troops fighting for our safety in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We wanted to do something to thank these men and women who put their lives on the line each day to fight for freedom so we decided to send them our version of a thank you card.


We packaged up our American Classic Tea, tea grown 100% on American soil, into a specially designed box and over wrap thanking each of our soldiers for their hard work.  My good friend Duke Saltus came up with the most beautiful package I could have ever hoped to see (and I mean it).  We then contacted my other friend from High School, Jeff Hill who basically runs the USO in America and he coordinated getting all 100,000 cases overseas (not an easy task I might add).

The production lines were running at full speed to package up this very special product.  The employees were beaming and now our outstanding service men and woman are getting a tea packaged with great care for them to enjoy by themselves or with a mate….a time for them to stop and reflect on their fine work and know that the people back here in the United States could not be more proud of all of them!

Cindi Bigelow

Join Cindi Bigelow on a Video Tour of the Charleston Tea Plantation!

A little Southern hospitality goes a long way in South Carolina’s Wadmalaw Island, home of America’s only tea garden, the Charleston Tea Plantation. Cindi Bigelow gives a fun and informative video tour of the idyllic plantation, purchased by the Bigelow family in 2003.

The plantation receives over 30,000 visitors each year, many of whom are curious to see a real, unique tea garden – in all its 127-acre splendor – and perhaps want to plan their weddings/special events on the grounds or to explore the rich history of Charleston or to simply just enjoy a lovely a cup of the plantation’s signature American Classic Tea.

Spring Has Sprung at Bigelow Tea — 2009 Spring Catalog Has Arrived!

Spring Has Sprung at Bigelow Tea!

There is nothing more uplifting than the beginning of spring especially after a long, cold winter! Sweet scents of hyacinth and vibrant tulips and daffodils fill us with a sense of well-being and renewal. Our cups runneth over. Speaking of cups, Bigelow Tea is celebrating springtime with our most exquisite Spring Catalog to date. It showcases a fabulous collection of Bigelow gifts, from colorful “On the Go” Tote Bags to the beautifully crafted Flavored and Herb Tea Chest. Green tea drinkers can go green with Bigelow’s All Green Tea Basket, a seagrass basket lovingly filled with Bigelow delights, including the ever-popular Green Tea with Pomegranate.

On-the-Go Tote Bags
“On the Go” Tote Bags

Flavored and Herb Tea Chest
Flavored and Herb Tea Chest

Bigelow Tea All Green Tea Basket
All Green Tea Basket

There’s something for everyone: discerning teacup collectors can enjoy Spode® Flower of the Month Teacups with their favorite Bigelow Tea, and organic tea aficionados can relax with treats from the Amber Spa Basket and Organic Tea For Two.

April — Flowers of the Month by Spode®
April — Flowers of the Month by Spode®

Amber Spa Basket
Amber Spa Basket

Organic Tea for Two
Organic Tea For Two

We at Bigelow Tea have put a lot of TLC into the creation of this catalog. Celebrate this glorious season with tea — whether planning the first of many spring tea parties or simply enjoying a beautiful sunset on your back porch while sipping some American Classic Tea®.

60+ years ago, Ruth Bigelow, with her unabashed passion for tea and adventurous taste buds, created a zesty tea, Constant Comment®. Her children and grandchildren were inspired by her. To read more about a true “American classic” and the family-owned company that she founded, read My Mother Loved Tea, written by her son, David Bigelow. And, yes, you can order it from the 2009 Spring Catalog.

Making Sustainable Choices: Bigelow Tea Celebrates Everything Green — Arbor Day, and Every Day

Preserve our planet with material reduction.

Preserve our planet with material reduction.

Trees, glorious trees! We enjoy their beauty, appreciate their shade and plant them as living memorials for loved ones. They provide a safe habitat for wildlife, improve our air quality and moderate our climate. Trees sustain us – with antioxidants contained in their fruit, nuts and, yes, their tea leaves! There is nothing more serene than the sound of leaves rustling gently in the summer breeze.  Trees keep us centered.  And in return, we need to protect, respect and replenish them.

Arbor Day dates back to 1872, when Nebraska journalist and politician Julius Sterling Morton, who devoted his career to improving agricultural practices, believed the economy and environment would benefit from planting trees. He proposed a special day dedicated to planting trees and raising public awareness. His birthday, April 22, became the annual Arbor Day for the State of Nebraska. As the idea spread past the Nebraskan border, other states followed suit and, today, Arbor Day is celebrated nationwide.

We at Bigelow Tea are committed to following sustainable farming practices. In 2003, Bigelow Tea purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation, America’s only tea garden, to save it from real estate development. Our work at the Charleston Tea Garden is a labor of love: crops are healthy and pesticide-free and our plantation staff is an integral part of the Bigelow Tea family




Hard work and dedication means sustainable choices today for tomorrow. The “fruit” of our labor: American Classic® Tea.

At Bigelow Tea, we do not waste our resources. We’re almost 100% paperless and fully dedicated to recycling — in fact, 85% of our packaging is biodegradable or recyclable. Anything that can be recycled is recycled. Simply put, we practice Sustainabili-Tea — everyday.

A Plantation of Flavors from Bigelow

The 2008 harvest at Bigelow’s Charleston Tea Plantation was one for the books, including the introduction of five brand new American Classic Tea varieties. As the only location in North America where tea is grown, the Charleston Plantation is located on Wadmalaw Island, just south of Charleston, South Carolina, and it holds a wealth of interest for any tea lover. The singular task of growing tea in America is just another step in the appeal of Bigelow and Bill Hall — our partner and world renowned third generation tea taster.

The number one question from public tours of the 127-acre Charleston Plantation site has always been: “Do you make green tea?” Bigelow Tea and Bill Hall were able to answer that question definitively in the spring of 2008, capitalizing on those unique conditions there that are amenable to growing tea. The introduction of the new American Classic Tea Island Green was a hit; after several growing seasons, Bill had found the green tea recipe that would pass his critical standards of quality at this one of a kind Tea Plantation.

The wait was finally over and the American Classic Green Tea went on sale in the plantation gift shop in July 2008 to incredible demand. It quickly became the #1 seller in the shop. Now we are able to offer this popular tea directly on the web! Also new in 2008 were four additional American Classic Tea Pyramid tea bag items. The large cut leaf teas, in a pyramid tea bag create a whole new experience for enjoying fresh tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation. American Classic Tea, Charleston Breakfast, Governor Gray, Plantation Peach and Rockville Raspberry pyramid tea bags are all for sale. See the new Buy 5 boxes, Get 1 Free web offer at the bottom of the page (Call 1-843-559-0383 to place your order).

New American Teas: Charleston Breakfast, Plantation Peach, Governor Grey and Rockville Raspberry.

New American Teas: Charleston Breakfast, Plantation Peach, Governor Grey and Rockville Raspberry

TAKE A TOUR BEFORE YOU POUR THE TEA: Explore America’s Only Tea Garden during the “First Flush” of the Year

CHARLESTON, S.C., April 2008 – Bigelow Tea’s Charleston Tea Plantation welcomes guests to celebrate the arrival of the spring season with their Annual “First Flush” event, a day dedicated to the entrance of the 2008 crop harvest. Taking place on May 17, 2008 on Wadmalaw Island, the 2nd annual First Flush Festival will offer a full day of excitement and revelry.

Throughout the day, the “Tea Trolley” will take visitors on a special route and provide an informative and enlightening “First Flush Tour.”  Attendees can also observe the process of making tea in the on-site factory.

In addition to the plantation tours, food, live music and games, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase their very own supply of Charleston Tea Plantation’s 2008 First Flush Loose Tea. At an extremely limited availability, the First Flush Tea— produced only with tea leaves from the very first spring growth on the tea plants— has a unique taste of its own.

Tickets for the festival will be sold prior to the event at the Gift Shoppe for $8.00. On the day of the event, tickets will be $10.00 at the gate. For more details regarding the First Flush Festival, please call 1-843-559-0383 or visit

About Bigelow Tea Company

Bigelow Tea was founded by Ruth Campbell Bigelow over 60 years ago in 1945. The company continues to be 100% family owned and managed by the Bigelow family with a special blend of pride and enthusiasm. Today the company is one of the nation’s leading producers of specialty teas, which includes more than 80 varieties of flavored, traditional, green, organic green, herbal, decaffeinated, and iced teas.  One of Bigelow Tea’s best-known products is America’s number one specialty tea flavor – “Constant Comment®” –   flavored with a delicious blend of oranges and spice. It is available in black tea, green tea and decaffeinated versions.

Bigelow Tea products are available nationwide and every variety can be found on the company website (  Tea lovers will also enjoy the company’s blog (


Elizabeth April-Fritz

Bigelow Tea

Valorie Luther
Creative Concepts