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My Signature Drink

April 23, 2011
Many unforgettable characters have signature drinks. It’s a detail that defines them. James Bond has his shaken, not stirred, martini. Mad Men’s Betty Draper has her vodka gimlet. Me? I prefer tea.

I slurp it iced. I sip it hot. I’ll succumb to it flavored, green, red, black, white. Just ask the baristas at my local Starbucks. I don’t drink their coffee, but I can’t live without their tea.

Starbucks uses Tazo, which I will buy in bags. But that’s about it. Otherwise, it’s always loose. An English friend convinced me with a first teapot and strainer two decades ago. Now, that gift is among 17 or so I’ve collected.

A delicious Earl Grey Crème is my house tea, yet frequent trips to teahouses result in tins and bags of other varieties about my kitchen.

I know the beverage originated in China, some of the best grows at the foothills of the Himalayas, and rooibos comes from South Africa. But I never knew that a tea plantation existed here in America.

Did you?

Seems the sandy, sub-tropical climate and rainfall in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, is perfect for harvesting the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Tucked away on historic Wadmalaw Island is the 127-acre Charleston Tea Plantation. A fascination for tea freaks like me.

Charleston Tea Plantation

America's only tea plantation

Plantation Fields

Charleston Tea Plantation harvests more than 125 acres of Carnelia Sinensis tea plants

Tea plants

Harvested tea plants at Charleston Tea Plantation

Tea Plantation Trolley Tour

The Tea Plantation Trolley Tour

The Green Monster

The Green Monster is the custom-designed machine that harvests the plants.

Factory Tour Withering Bed

During the Factory tour watch the fresh cut leaves go to the withering bed.

Charleston Tea Plantation Factory

From the withering process the tea leaves move to the oxidation bed.

Factory Tour

The tea making its way to the oxidation bed before being dried and packaged.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Jodi permalink
    April 23, 2011 11:33 pm

    Ah, tea. Prefer black tea, stewed, not steeped. Hot or iced. Ah, tea.

  2. Peg Bailey permalink
    April 23, 2011 11:48 pm

    I also like tea but didn’t know all the facts. Thanks for the well written & interesting info.
    I like the picture showing your collection of teapots.

  3. Johan permalink
    April 24, 2011 4:50 am

    Being South African I love Rooibos, well stewed and black.
    Interesting and well written piece’

    • April 25, 2011 1:56 pm

      Hello Johan: I only discovered rooibus a couple of years ago. But so glad I did! Thank you so much for your comments. Always appreciate your encouragement. All the best, Bailey

  4. Sandra permalink
    June 24, 2011 10:05 pm

    Hi, Bailey. Your husband contacted me on Flickr, as my screen name there and on Instagram is photos and tea. I, too, have a lifelong love of tea, photography, and writing. It’s lovely to “meet” you through your blog. I just made you a contact on Flickr, and I hope to see you around there often.


    • July 4, 2011 9:24 pm

      Sandra, it is terrific to make your acquaintance. It does seem we have a lot in common. Thank you for checking out my blog. I enjoy your photos on Flickr. Take care.
      Best, Bailey

  5. April 7, 2013 11:17 am

    Reblogged this on beingbailey.

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