Bigelow Tea on YouTube Subscribe Follow Me on Pinterest Follow Us on Instagram

Archives for posts tagged ‘Charleston Tea Plantation’

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!

How To Make An Amazing Outdoor Garden (You Can Use Tea!)

Yes!!! April is National Garden Month so that means it’s time to get ready to enjoy all those gorgeous colors that will bloom soon (if some haven’t already)! Plus, it’s that time of year to take on an outdoorsy project – like making your own garden of course!

Bigelow Tea has a lot of experience doing just this- our community garden 

grows fresh ‘n’ delicious goodies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and basil. We even donate our bounty to local nonprofit organizations where they help feed those who may be less fortunate.

And of course, Bigelow Tea has also cultivated a rather, um, large garden—the Charleston Tea Plantation! (See the pic of all the rows of beautiful tea above!)

On a smaller scale, whether you are interested in growing your own garden so you can feed your family or help give to others- here’s a super idea: You can start a garden using tea bags! How cool is that? Try some of these tips from a tea fan:

  1. Begin with a plate, platter or disposable serving tray lined with unbleached paper towels.
  2. Place moistened tea bags, which have been prepared normally using boiling water, on the tray.
  3. Using a small blade/knife or your fingers, make a small slit in the tea bags (large enough to plant your seeds).
  4. Take 2-3 seeds and push them into the slit that you made in the tea bag so that the seeds are slightly covered by the tea leaves.  Keep in mind that because the tea leaves are moist, some of the contents of the tea bag will get on your fingers- don’t worry, just make sure that the seed is in place.Put your tea bag garden in a sunny area and wait for your seeds to sprout.  Be sure to keep the paper towels moistened1 Depending on sun exposure, temperature and watering, seeds should begin to sprout in 10-15 days. When watering, pour water onto the paper towels, not directly onto the tea bags.
  5. Once you have a small sprout, take the whole tea bag and plant it in either a raised bed or container.  The tea bag will become fantastic compost for the garden!

Another simple way to get gardening is to start with herbs. It’s an easy way to get going with that farm to table concept!

So how does your garden grow? Share your green thumb tips with us! Be sure to tag #TeaProudly so we can use some tips for our own gardens!

5 Bigelow Tea Sustainability Efforts That Celebrate Earth Month … All Year Long

Earth Month is all of April so let’s celebrate!

Anyone and everyone can do something good for the Earth this month (and, well, all year round!), whether it’s big or small. And that includes Bigelow Tea– it’s about practicing business philosophies that help, not harm. In fact, it’s in our mission statement: “Do the right thing and good things will follow.”

So why do the right thing for the planet? As third generation president and CEO Cindi Bigelow says, “Being responsible is not something my family does because we can do good things, but because we strongly believe that we should and need to do good things, whether it’s for the community, for our employees, or for the environment.”

Need some inspiration for ways to be earthier this month? Read on for some of Bigelow Tea’s famous “SustainabiliTea” efforts and get motivated!

  1. Supporting renewable energy and reducing emissions, our planet stays in good shape for future generations.  By installing 880 solar panels at our Connecticut headquarters, our yearly effort produces about 200,000 kWh which is enough energy to power 527 homes for an entire year, using nothing but the power of the sun.
  1. We’ve been reducing our energy use for years! This has led to a nearly 10 million kWh reduction where energy has been reduced by over 2.5 million kWh in just our Fairfield plant alone through energy efficiency measures. That’s the equivalent of planting 41 million trees. How have we done this? One way is by replacing light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs in offices in all our facilities. So simple, yet so effective – anyone can change their light bulbs to make a difference!
  1. Bigelow Tea has achieved “Zero Waste to Landfill” status. What that means is we’re following the guidelines of the Zero Waste Alliance, which says that a company can claim being a zero waste to landfill facility if no more than 10 per cent of their waste ends up in a landfill.
  1. Bigelow Tea, with the goal of preserving land, purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003 to save 127 acres of land from real estate development. Today, the plantation has hosted well over 100,000 visitors.
  1. We try to act on the bees’ behalf! Bigelow’s Green Team has planted flowers on our corporate property along an urban train track fence to help provide bees with a better natural habitat.

Feeling inspired now? We hope so!  And hey if you need more encouragement, check out these Bigelow Tea activities planned for each day of Earth Week (April 17-22):

  • Recycling drives for electronics, towels for local animal shelters and business clothing (women’s and men’s) to benefit  Dress for Success
  • Educational exhibits on container gardening, lighting , recycling and composting
  • Lunch and learn with  the Back Yard Bee Keepers Association
  • Plant tours of our facility to showcase our sustainability efforts and our solar panels
  • Local foods will be served in the cafeteria
  • Raffle prizes – packets of seeds, tee shirts, plants  and more

So how will you observe Earth Month? Let us know by sharing anywhere online and tag with #TeaProudly!

How To Plan Your Wedding With Help From Bigelow Tea!

bigelow tea loversFebruary is the month of romance, and Bigelow Tea is in the mood for sharing the love!  Besides celebrating Valentine’s Day, it’s also National Wedding Month, not a big surprise when you think about how many couples get engaged over the holiday season (maybe even you did!)

For all the loud and proud tea drinkers, there are so many fabulous ways to incorporate your favorite beverage of all time into one of the biggest days of your life!

  • Of course, a wedding at the historic Charleston Tea Planation is definitely one dreamy place to pledge your love to your “Bae.” The historic venue drips with good ol’ Southern charm, and is the scene for countless weddings every year for good reason. Besides being gorgeous with acres of tea plants and classical architecture, couples can pledge their love under the “wedding tree”, the plantation’s oldest live Oak; can you say romantic?
  • Tea can also be a part of the special day in so many other amazing and creative ways, both big and small. It can be as simple as sipping a mug on the day to calm pre-wedding jitters – tea is chock full of good stuff known as L-Theanine, an amino acid that research has found may help you chill out and go with the flow.
  • Or, serve up a signature tea cocktail for your wedding toast! Guests will go nuts for this super memorable, celebratory champagne punch:

Pomegranate Pizzazz Champagne Punch

bigelow tea punch

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups boiling water
Bigelow® Pomegranate Pizzazz Herbal Tea Bags*
750-ml bottle champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
2 tablespoons orange juice
¼ cup fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)

Instructions

Combine water and tea bags and allow to steep for 5 minutes. Thoroughly squeeze tea bags and remove. Add orange juice. To chill, place tea concentrate in the freezer for 30-45 minutes. Pour champagne into a large pitcher. Add tea mixture and pomegranate seeds to pitcher and stir. Serve immediately.

  • Guess what else? Tea is a top trick for bridal beauty. With all eyes on the rock on that all-important finger, hands will be in full focus, so what better way to get gorgeous nails than with green tea? Soaking fingers in this drink for about 10 to 15 can strengthen brittle and weak nails and also get rid of discoloration from overdosing on dark nail polish.
  • And should a giant zit threaten to make an unwelcome guest appearance on the big day, keep tea close by- its astringent qualities can help shrink a breakout by just putting a warm tea bag on the bump for a few minutes.

So whether you’ve been there done that or are still headed towards holy matrimony, share the love with us by posting all your most fave wedding planning tips and tagging #TeaProudly!

The Many Ways Bigelow Tea is All About Green

bigelow tea sustainability

Bigelow Tea is so much more than just a tasty mug of tea; our company also helps save the Earth. Yes, that sounds like quite the statement, but it’s the truth- we believe in practicing business philosophies that help, not harm. It’s right there in our mission statement: “Do the right thing and good things will follow.” So how does our company do sustainabiliTea proudly? Here are some of our many, many ways:

We’re Powered By The Sun.

We are hugely in favor of supporting renewable energy and reducing emissions, to keep our planet in good shape for future generations.  We’ve done this by installing 880 solar panels at our Connecticut headquarters. Every year, this effort produces about 200,000 kWh, which is enough energy to power 527 homes for an entire year – with nothing but the power of the sun. So how does this affect pollution levels? It equals a reduction in pollution roughly equivalent to 200,000 car miles removed from the highways each year. Sit back and sip to that!

We’ve Made An Energy Efficient Environment.

We’ve spent many years reducing our energy use, leading to a nearly 10 million kWh reduction. And we’ve reduced energy by over 2.5 million kWh in just our Fairfield plant alone through energy efficiency measures. In laymen’s terms, that’s the equivalent of planting 41 million trees. How have we done this? One way is by replacing light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs in all offices in all our facilities. Yes, it can be that simple to save the Earth.

We Say No to Landfills. 

We have a company-wide commitment to achieving “Zero Waste to Landfill” status. What that means is we’re following the guidelines of the Zero Waste Alliance, which says that a company can claim being a zero waste to landfill facility if no more than 10 per cent of their waste ends up in a landfill. Guess what? Our company diverts 94% of its solid waste company wide, meaning we have actually surpassed the official guideline. We recycle, and then recycle some more, and

reduce/reuse/compost, all leading to be a Zero Waste to Landfill Company.

We’ve Made A Modern Tea Plantation.

We purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003, saving the land from development to turn it into America’s own tea garden. This special spot features 127 acres of beauty (and incredible tea leaves!) and welcomes visits from thousands of tea lovers yearly. We’re proud of the Bigelow family’s hard work to keep the traditional tea plantation alive and well with a modern twist!

We Work With Green Suppliers.  

We’re also very proud to work with an environmentally responsible supplier. A couple of the amazing things being done there to ensure our much-loved drink is created with only the crème de la crème of practices:

  • We’re keeping our tea facilities as warm and cozy as the drink thanks to installation of Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls, which are 83% more energy efficient compared to traditional walls;
  • We’re fans of geothermal heating and cooling units; using this method for heating or cooling the entire building expansion uses only 1/14th the energy you would need if you used oil.

We know you love tea as much as we do; that’s why we are so delighted to keep our #TeaProudly community in the loop about all about the modern-day environmental choices that keeps that delicious tea in your cup while saving the planet, especially during Go Green Week. Learn more about all the amazing things we’re up to and share with us how you #TeaProudly the “green” way.

Bigelow Tea Honors Our Troops with a Gift to the USO

bigelow-tea-tea-for-troopsBigelow Tea keeps those who have served our country close to our hearts every day including this Veteran’s Day. Recently Bigelow Tea worked closely with the USO and Stop & Shop in Quincy, Massachusetts on a specially developed Support our Local Troops Program that represented 3% of all Bigelow Tea sold at Stop & Shop stores between June 3 and July 7, 2016 and resulted in a final contribution of  $14,100. The contribution will provide support to the USO and the crucial services it provides to forward-deployed service members, military families, wounded warriors, troops in transition and families of the fallen.

“The USO and their mission, which recognizes the huge sacrifices men and women of our military have made and continue to make, is near and dear to the hearts of everyone at Bigelow Tea. Filled with pride and gratitude for all they do, we love doing all we can, whenever we can, to support them,” says Cindi Bigelow, President & CEO of Bigelow Tea. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Stop & Shop on this program and to all the Stop & Shop consumers for their whole-hearted support. Together we accomplish great things.”

Bigelow Tea’s commitment to U.S. military communities continues to grow since it launched its Tea for the Troops Program in 2009 donating 5 million tea bags to date in support of the USO’s ongoing mission to strengthen America’s military by keeping them connected to family, home and country. The “Tea for the Troops” program sends specially designed boxes of the company’s 100% American-grown tea, from the company’s Charleston Tea Plantation, to U.S. military personnel overseas and in the States. The package was created exclusively for service men and women to thank them for their service.

Additionally, Bigelow Tea became an official sponsor of the USO in 2015 and an enthusiastic participant in USO events such as the organization’s 2015 and 2016 Warrior Weeks that took place in Virginia Beach, Virginia in association with USO of Hampton Roads and Central Virginia Inc. Their invaluable programs bring together physical, therapeutic and recreational organizations that empower wounded, ill and injured troops with a renewed sense of adventure by providing opportunities to participate in activities from adaptive water skiing and kayaking, to deep sea fishing, horseback riding, surfing, racquetball and tennis.

We encourage you to take a moment this Veteran’s Day to find your own way to honor and support all the men, women, and families who have given so much to our country.

Bigelow Tea: A Green Leader!

bigelow-tea-tea-fieldBigelow Tea puts a lot of work into creating delicious teas for your enjoyment, but did you know that Bigelow puts just as much effort into protecting the planet?

Taking care of the environment is reflected in the company’s mission statement: “Do the right thing and good things will follow.” Since the company’s beginnings, Bigelow Tea has held the philosophy that positive practices within our community, our environment, and our business can only ensure positive outcomes. That’s why our SustainabiliTea program is a leader in green initiatives. Here are just some of the incredible ways Bigelow Tea makes a difference:

Energy Conservation

Bigelow has been harnessing the power of the sun for nearly a decade, with 880 solar panels installed at our Connecticut headquarters. This has led to a reduction in pollution approximately equal to 200,000 car miles removed from the highways yearly. Bigelow also uses energy efficient lighting, heating/cooling, and water flow at office headquarters.

Waste Reduction

We’ve committed to achieving Zero Waste to Landfill status, which means diverting at least 90 percent of waste from the landfill. Our company takes it a step further: a full 94 percent is diverted through reducing, recycling, and composting.

Land Preservation

Bigelow Tea purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation in 2003 to save 127 acres of land from real estate development. Today, the plantation has hosted well over 100,000 visitors.

Supplier Relationships

We’ve been working with the same suppliers in countries such as Sri Lanka for several decades because they share our commitment to ethical and sustainable practices.

Even with so many big initiatives, Bigelow is always on the lookout for more ways to be green. For instance, we recently planted a bee-friendly garden in hopes of attracting more native bee species.

No effort is too big or too small as far as we’re concerned; as David Bigelow says, “We’ve been making tea for three generations, and we get better every year.” The same can be said about our sustainability efforts!

Tell us below: what green practices are the most exciting to you, your family and your business?

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!

Eunice and David Bigelow Recognized With Lifetime Achievement Award

bigelow familyBack in 1945, when Bigelow Tea first started, Ruth Campbell Bigelow could only afford a single-color label for her tea. Each night, her son, David, Jr., would help his father hand paint the two women on the original label. Then, in the morning, they would put the tea into the family station wagon and sell it store by store. David, Jr. has surely come a long way since painting labels. Today, he and his wife, Eunice, are co-chairmen of the company and were recently recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Specialty Food Association at its Summer Fancy Food Show on June 27 in New York City.

While Bigelow Tea attributes its beginnings to Ruth and the flagship tea “Constant Comment®”, it was her son, David, and his wife, Eunice, who paved the way for the growth of the U.S. specialty tea market. David, with Eunice’s unwavering support, led the company with a spirit of determination to its current prominence as the country’s #1 specialty tea company. His integrity, intelligence and kindness also helped form the brand’s personality and its success.

“All of us at Bigelow Tea could not be more proud to see this Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed on my parents,” said Cindi Bigelow, third-generation president and CEO of the company. “They are admired not only for the significant impact they have had on the specialty tea industry, but for the positive influence they have had on lives of the thousands of employees whose privilege it has been to work alongside them during Bigelow Tea Company’s more than 70 years. Their passion, creativity and guidance are without measure,” Cindi remarked.

bigelow tea family

In addition to making Bigelow Tea the U.S. industry leader in specialty teas, Eunice and David’s more recent accomplishments include their significant 2003 additional investment in South Carolina’s 127-acre Charleston Tea Plantation. It was their dream to restore this unique site, which is America’s largest tea garden, and share this vibrant piece of Americana for all to enjoy. Today, the beautiful Charleston Tea Plantation has become the standard bearer for the long and illustrious American tea story and welcomes 70,000 visitors each year — a suitable landmark to complement the profound impact their efforts made on the consumer tea market.

So raise a cup to Eunice and David Bigelow. Without their ingenuity, vision or drive, Bigelow Tea might not be celebrating its 70th year. It’s been the labor of a lifetime, a labor truly worthy of a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bigelow Tea Is Gushing Over Charleston Tea Plantation’s First Flush

bigelow tea charleston tea plantaion

Nothing excites Bigelow Tea more than seeing new growth, especially at the Charleston Tea Plantation! Every spring, their Camellia Sinensis plants reawaken from a winter slumber with a fresh batch of tea leaves known collectively as the First Flush. What makes this First Flush special is that these pristine leaves become the basis for First Flush Tea, a limited edition and unique tea traditionally reserved only for Royalty. And make note, this tea sells out quickly because it’s only around once every season.

bigelow tea charleston tea plantation blends

Of course, there’s always time to visit the Charleston Tea Plantation. Based on Wadmalaw Island, in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, Bigelow Tea fans can learn how various tea blends like American Classic Tea are produced here by going on free daily factory tours where Bigelow’s manufacturing process from crop to cup is explained and you learn about the differences in the production of greenblack and Oolong teas among other tea points of interest. Plus while you’re here, you can explore the grounds of America’s largest tea garden by buying a ticket and hopping on a trolley tour. Keep your phone out to snap some scenic pics like this great shot that Merydie Ross posted on her Instagram. And don’t forget to purchase some tea before heading home so you can have a little bit of Charleston in your cupboard.  Enjoy and happy spring!