Charleston Tea Plantation’s website: The plantation is located on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina. The island is approximately 10 miles long and 6 miles wide. The plantation is 127 acres and produces both black and green teas. They say Wadmalaw provides the perfect environment for propagating the Camellia Sinensis tea plant, with its sandy soils, sub-tropical climate and average rainfall of 52 inches per year.
A co-worker came back from vacation having taken the South Carolina tea plantation tour. He didn’t want to go – his wife pushed him into it. He said it actually turned out to be the most interesting thing they did on vacation. Being the perfect tourist, he bought a book, and a video. He also bought a tin of this tea.
On to the tea. There are no brewing instructions on the tin. Ingredients listed are tea and oil of bergamot. It smells great in the tin. The leaf is very small pieces of CTC. It is a bit larger than the tea flecks common to tea bags.
I used a healthy spoon and boiling water, steeping for 2 ½ minutes. The liquor is nice and dark. It smells much lighter than the dry leaf suggests. One comment on the wet leaf – this 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. The second cup is not as good as the first but still quite 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. If I could buy this locally, I would keep a small tin around for the novelty alone. It can be ordered online for about $9.49 + shipping, for 2.3 oz (50g).