Taste of Tea :: American Classic Tea from Charleston Tea Plantation

Hey there, fellow tea drinkers! Today’s post is another Taste of Tea entry. For this one, I’m going to relay the notes from my tea-tasting journal entry for the loose leaf American Classic Tea from Charleston Tea Plantation. This tea was a gift from a work friend who visited the Charleston Tea Plantation and was kind enough to bring back a little something for me from the gift shop. I tasted this tea a few weeks ago, and I’ve been looking forward to posting about it because this particular tea is grown and produced in the U.S. As a denizen of this country, which is not traditionally known for tea production, that makes this tasting entry a little extra special for me.

My friend very appropriately portioned the tea into a little mason jar.

A quick bit about American Classic Tea: American Classic Tea is the signature tea produced by Charleston Tea Plantation [1], and is a tea that is exclusively made with tea grown in the USA. Charleston Tea Plantation, founded in the late 1980s by William Barclay Hall and currently co-owned by the Bigelow family (as in Bigelow Tea) [2], is located on Wadmalaw Island in South Carolina and remains one of the largest commercial tea farms in the USA [3,4].

Tasting Notes 

Type of Tea: Black Tea, loose leaf

Dry tea: The scent off of the dry tea had a touch of sweetness, as well as a touch of bitterness. This gave it a sort of bittersweet, almost cocoa-like, quality. There was also an element in the scent that I couldn’t quite put my finger (or sniffer?) on. The tea itself was composed of broken leaves with some intact veins, as well as few bits of stem. The colors were a set of dark ones, predominately dark blackish-brown but with some hints of lighter earthy-reddish browns.

After examining the dry tea, I warmed the teapot and added the dry tea to the warmed teapot to help further activate tea’s scent. The scent still had it bittersweetness, but the scent was a little stronger. And I also realized that I was getting strong notes of hay.

Preparation: 2 tsp in approximately 12 oz/350 mL of just boiled water for 2 minutes.

Tea liquor: After infusing, the scent coming off of the liquor had the same elements as that from the dry tea, but with more a wetter quality and a touch more sweetness. The color of the liquor was a pleasant golden honey color.  

The tea liquor was surprisingly smooth with only a mild astringency. I couldn’t quite pin down one of the flavor elements in the liquor, but the closest thing I could think of was a fruitiness, maybe something like fig. There was also a mild warmness in the flavor that reminded a little of spiced dark chocolate. The flavor also had an element of wet hay along with a light sweetness. The finish was sweet with a light touch bitterness.

Quick Summary

  • Tea: American Classic Tea, loose, black tea
  • Origin: USA
  • Producer: Charleston Tea Plantation
  • Texture: smooth, mild astringency
  • Flavor Notes: fruitiness, hay, cocoa
  • Finish: sweet with a touch of bitterness

Final Thoughts: Overall, this was interesting black tea. It was surprisingly smooth with a pleasant roasted wet hay flavor and notes of cocoa, ending with a bittersweet finish. I very much enjoyed it. And I bet it would make a great iced tea!

Thanks for reading! Have you ever tried this tea or another of the Charleston Tea Plantation teas? If so, please share your thoughts or experiences in the comments down below. Additionally, if you enjoyed this post or found it useful, then please like, comment and share.

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  1. “Our Plantation.” Charleston Tea Plantation. Accessed February 02, 2019. https://www.charlestonteaplantation.com/our-plantation/.
  2. “History.” Charleston Tea Plantation. Accessed February 02, 2019. https://www.charlestonteaplantation.com/history/.
  3. Neimark, Jill. “Yes, America Has A Working Tea Plantation. We Visited It.” NPR. August 23, 2016. Accessed February 02, 2019. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/08/23/488817144/america-s-only-full-time-tea-taster-talks-about-life-on-the-charleston-tea-plant.
  4. Hardin, Jordan G. “The Complete Guide to Tea Grown in the United States and Canada.” American Specialty Tea Alliance. May 15, 2018. Accessed February 02, 2019. https://specialtyteaalliance.org/world-of-tea/us-grown-tea/.

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