Do you prefer India or China tea? Those are the two usual categories - hence the two compartments in tea caddies. But, did you know there is tea grown in the US? The Charleston Tea Plantation grows and produces 'American Classic Tea'. For those whose immediate travel plans do not include India, China, Kenya, etc., a visit to the Charleston Tea Plantation is a fun way to see how those fabulous tea leaves end up in your teapot. (These photos are post-harvest 2008 season.)
We're in the middle of harvest season right now - last year my husband and I visited the CTP in late October and they had just finished harvesting. I checked with the CTP yesterday and they estimate another 2-3 weeks of harvesting so if you have plans to be in the area, check it out.
Harvesting takes place Monday-Thursday, but call to verify beforehand. And, if you can't get there to see the actual 'picking', it's still worth a visit. You'll see how the leaves are dried and processed, find out the difference in green and black teas (they're from the same plant, you know!), and get a trolley tour of the fields. And, like all good company/factory tours - you'll enjoy samples and a great giftshop - it's where I bought my small Hues & Brews i-pot and some too cute teapot trivets!
And here was the most unexpected thing - Tea Mulch!!
I would die to have a garden full of tea mulch! It's very fine, a lovely dark tea color, and it has a subtle fragrance - very subtle, but just noticeable enough to bring to mind a nice cup of tea - yum!
This made me thirsty - I'm off to get a glass of iced tea . . . and to sip it while I look at my second-rate, odorless, chunky mulch.