Sunday, June 22, 2014

America's Tea Garden

If you didn't guess from my "teaser" post yesterday, I went to Charleston, S.C. for my trip last week.  Very close to Charleston is Wadmalaw Island, which is where Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka is distilled.   The Island is also the location of the only tea plantation in the U.S., the Charleston Tea Plantation, where American Classic Tea is grown.

Before we begin discussing the shop and the tea, let me just say that the grounds were beautiful.  Huge Live Oaks (called that because these Oak trees keep their leaves even in winter), Palm Trees, and flowers greet you as you drive/walk to the store.

Now, on to the main event! We took a Trolley bus tour of the farm.

Before starting the tour, I got some of the free Iced Tea offered in the shop, which I enjoyed on the way...


to see the fields of Camellia sinensis, the tea plant! Tea comes from this one plant, but the there are 320 varieties of the plant on the plantation.

We were told that only the top leaves are used to make tea--the lower leaves are bitter.
We also learned that they don't use  seeds to grow the tea plant, in fact they will pull up shoots that grow from seeds.  Instead they use cuttings to start new plants in a green house, that they will then plant in a new field.  Using cuttings insures that the plant's taste will remain the same.

After we returned from the tour, we went inside the gift store.

There was a bar with both hot and cold tea to try--here are just some of the samplings:

In addition to loads of tins and boxes of tea, they also had tea lotions for sale, and candles! 

On the other side of the gift shop was the factory, which you could tour for free to see how tea is made.

The plantation was beautiful and I highly recommend it as a break if you visit Charleston.  The drive takes about 20 minutes from Downtown Charleston and is lovely as you pass through some of the Islands in South Carolina's Low Country.

I came away with some souvenirs of course, including this sampler pack as a gift for my sister.
I also bought some stuff for me... and got the below bag for free!

(Picture taken from the balcony of my hotel room)


  1. Wow, what a great trip. How exciting to take the tour and see and learn all you did about Tea. Great pictures.

  2. I really enjoyed this tour. I sold their tea for a while in my shop here in Colorado but haven't reordered it.

  3. Carrie, you're so lucky to have gone to Charleston and visited this tea plantation. I would certainly love to do this one day.


Thank you so much for your comment! I hope you have a wonderful day :)