What is the relationship between the Charleston Tea Plantation,  and Bigelow Tea?

In 2003, the Bigelow family purchased the Charleston Tea Plantation and formed a partnership with former owner William Barclay Hall.  The Bigelows brought sixty-five years of experience in the specialty tea business to the Plantation and the American Classic brand. Since 2003, the Charleston Tea Plantation has been transformed into a true American icon. American Classic Tea has maintained its faithful fans since its start in the late 1980's and has continued to prosper as a result of consumers wanting to experience the only tea grown and produced in America.  Today the Charleston Tea Plantation offers more than just a cup of fresh tea. Thanks to the Bigelow family, the true working tea farm presents a learning experience unlike any other in the country. 

Are any of the Bigelow Teas made with tea from the Charleston Tea Plantation?

No, Bigelow Teas are not made from any of the tea leaves grown or harvested here at the Charleston Tea Plantation.  Charleston Tea Plantation Teas are the only teas made from the tea leaves produced by the Camellia Sinensis plants grown in the fields of the Charleston Tea Plantation.

What is First Flush Tea? 

"First Flush" refers to the tea made with the first growth of our tea bushes in the springtime when they wake up from their winter dormancy.  Usually this happens in April or May and creates a unique taste only available once a growing season!


How many cups of tea can be made from a tin of any of your Charleston tea plantation Teas?

Our tins can make roughly 22-25 cups of tea, depending upon your preferred strength of taste.

How old is the Charleston Tea Plantation and why do you consider it to be a part of history?

The Charleston Tea Plantation got its official start in 1987, but its true history goes way back.  In the 1700s tea bushes also known as the Camellia Sinensis first arrived in the United States from China.  Several attempts were made in South Carolina over the next 150 years to propagate and produce tea for consumption, but none were successful.  Not until 1888, when Dr. Charles Shepard founded the Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville, South Carolina did American grown tea become a reality. In Summerville, Dr. Shepard created award winning teas until his death in 1915.  After his passing, the Pinehurst Tea Plantation closed and Dr. Shepard's tea plants grew wild for the next forty five years. 

In 1963, a 127 acre potato farm located on Wadmalaw Island in the Lowcountry of South Carolina was purchased and Shepard's tea plants were transplanted from Pinehurst to the farm. This farm eventually became known as the Charleston Tea Plantation. Every Camellia Sinensis plant growing on the grounds of the Plantation is a direct descendants of Dr. Shepard's 1888 crop, making the Charleston Tea Plantation a living part of American history! 

What is the best time of the year to visit the Charleston Tea Plantation?

The Charleston Tea Plantation is open year round and there is always something for you to see and enjoy...

Spring: The harvest season begins in the month of May. 

Summer: The harvesting and production processes are in full swing.

Fall:  Harvesting ends around the end of September/beginning of October. During this time of year the Camellia Sinensis plants begin to bloom.

Winter: Even though the harvesting season is over you can still experience the workings of the farm.  The plants may be resting, but the atmosphere is still full of energy! 

When do the Camellia Sinensis plants bloom?        

The Camellia Sinensis plants can start to bloom as early as August. However, typically they peak in the month of September but can sometimes last through late October. This is usually shortly after the harvest season has come to a close. Traditionally, the blooms are followed by the plants' dormant season.

Why don't you manufacture an Oolong Tea?

The popularity of black and green teas have kept us so busy with production that we have not had the opportunity to re-configure the Factory for the production of Oolong Tea. 

Why don't you manufacture any decaffeinated teas?

The Charleston Tea Plantation takes pride in producing a product as all natural as its Charleston Tea Plantation Teas. There are absolutely no herbicides, pesticides or insecticides used to protect the growth of the tea plants. With that being said and taking into consideration that in order to decaffeinate any tea requires the use of chemicals, we have chosen not to produce a decaffeinated tea. However, studies have shown that heat releases caffeine, so there are ways to naturally reduce the amount of caffeine in your Tea...

TO MAKE REDUCED CAFFEINE ICED TEA-Pour cold water over your tea bags and let it sit overnight at room temperature. (Using cold water will significantly reduce the caffeine in your beverage.) In the morning, remove your tea bags, add a sweetener if desired and serve over ice.  

TO MAKE REDUCED CAFFEINE HOT TEA-Bring your water to a rolling boil and pour it directly over your tea bag or loose leaf. Do not use much water because this first brew contains the most caffeine and should be discarded. Leave this to infuse for 45 - 60 seconds and then gently pour the tea out, leaving your tea bag or loose leaf in the cup.  Now you are free to use the same tea bag or loose leaf to make your fresh cup of naturally decaffeinated Tea. 

How much caffeine would you say your CHARlestON TEA PLANTATION Teas have in it?

A cup of any of our Charleston Tea Plantation Teas usually contains half the amount of caffeine that an average cup of coffee does.

Caffeine Averages of Milligrams per 8 oz. Serving

  • Coffee                           100-120 mg
  • Black Tea                        30-60 mg
  • Green Tea                         25-50 mg

Is there a difference in the amount of caffeine in black and green teas?

Typically, black tea contains slightly more caffeine than green tea. Although, being a natural occurring part of the plant, the caffeine levels can vary based on climate and soil content.

What is the easiest way to make a gallon of iced tea with your teas?

1.  Place 9 Charleston Tea Plantation Tea pyramid bags in a heat safe container
2.  Bring fresh, cold tap water to a rolling boil
3.  As soon as the water reaches a rolling boil, pour directly over the tea bags
4.  Steep the tea bags for 6 minutes
5.  Add water and ice to bring to a gallon

If you do decide to sweeten your tea, we suggest that you create a liquid solution with your sweetener prior to adding it to your brewed tea.

How long will a gallon of your iced tea stay fresh?

We would recommend only keeping a gallon of iced tea for a maximum of one and a half days. 

Do you sell your loose tea leaf to any other companies to use in the production of their products?

No, Charleston Tea Plantation Teas are the only teas made from the green leaf produced by the Camellia Sinensis plants grown on the grounds of the Charleston Tea Plantation.

Can I buy charleston tea plantation Teas from anyone else besides the Charleston Tea Plantation?

Currently, stores in 17 different states carry Charleston Tea Plantation Teas and/or Body Products. Check out our Where to Buy page to see if the only tea grown in America is sold in a shop near you!

What is the importance of your product being Certified South Carolina Grown?

The Certified South Carolina program is a new, exciting cooperative effort among producers, processors, wholesalers, retailers and the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) to brand and promote South Carolina products. The goal is for consumers to be able to easily identify, find and buy South Carolina grown products.  Purchasing Charleston Tea Plantation Teas not only supports the efforts of the Charleston Tea Plantation, but also the State of South Carolina!


You are welcome to bring your best friend along with you to the tea plantation!  We just ask that you keep him/her on a leash.  The only area we cannot let our furry friends is inside our Gift Shop, however, our expansive front porch with rockers is a great hang out for you to alternate visiting the Gift Shop/Factory area.  They are also welcome to join you on the Trolley Tour, as long as there is no one who is fearful or allergic.  Our friendly resident plantation Walker Beagle, Bodie, is the official welcoming committee and is often on hand to meet and greet!

Who did the wonderful photography for our website?  

Photographed images used on the Charleston Tea Plantation website, were photographed by:

Yve Assad Photography & Graphic Design,