This past October I visted the American Classic Tea Plantation, located on Wadmalaw Island, only a few miles from Charleston, South Carolina. It was quite an experience to see tea bushes growing and to hear how the leaves are transformed into the tea we drink.
The plantation offers a free tour of their tea-drying factory and I was able to see up close the process of tea making.
My brother, sister-in-law, husband and I toured the plantation on a trolly, where we saw hundreds of thousands of tea plants growing. We were lucky because the bushes were in bloom.
Tea bushes are never sprayed because they are pest-restistant. The leaves are harvested only from new growth and they are harvested three times per year. After cutting, the leaves are brought inside the factory and dumped into a machine which dries them. The plantation I visited is the only tea plantation in the United States.
There was a gift shop where tins of tea and other tea-related items were sold. Several different flavors of iced-tea were offered free to visitors and I drank some. Also, since I'm a tea drinker, I bought several tins of loose tea.
In the slideshow, you'll see the Angel Oak trees. They're old trees and in many cases their limbs bend so low they touch the ground. I enjoyed the trolly ride and I enjoyed touring the fields and hearing about the growing and harvesting of tea.