I’d like to give a shout-out to my close friend Rachel for helping make this post possible given my current emotional state. :)
Domestically grown tea enjoys the perks of never requiring the drinker to worry about the quality of life of its farmers. That being said, domestically grown tea definitely doesn’t come cheap, and it’s not always even organic. The process of growing tea outside of the tropics is expensive, tricky and labour-intensive (imagine 3-4 layer hoop houses and constant irrigation). However, the process does yield some really exceptional teas.
In aroma, Charleston Tea Plantation’s Wadmalaw Island is quite unlike other Green teas. It actually smells more Black than Green with dry mallow straw notes. In flavor, Wadmalaw Island is similar to a Nuwara Eliya or a Ratnapura Green: sweet grassy and rich with a lower astringency than other Greens. In texture its a thick gooey/syrupy tingle, reminiscent of chamomile or chrysanthemum. Wadmalaw Island has a slightly higher caffeine content than I’m used to with Asian teas, and it’s making me sleepy (I know, caffeine is supposed to have the opposite effect but it never has on me for whatever reason). In liquor, a lovely and unique pea-green tint.
I thought this history was a bit fun and fascinating, so I’m block-quoting it here from Bigelow’s Wadmalaw Island sales page.
Over 100 years ago, tea planters brought their finest ancestral tea bushes from China and India to Wadmalaw Island near the historic old city of Charleston, South Carolina. Now the direct descendants of these very plants have been lovingly restored to their former grandeur here at the Charleston Tea Plantation, a lush subtropical tea farm. It is in this context of great natural beauty and colonial pride that we bring you Charleston Tea Plantation Wadmalaw Green Tea made from 100% tea grown at America’s own tea garden. Island Green Tea is carefully crafted to be America’s unique and refreshing version of a classic, centuries-old beverage.
- Taste – 94
- Texture – 93
- Spunk – 95
- Rarity – 97
- Availability – 96 (sold online at $40/case only)
- Appearance – 94
- Organic/Fair trade – 90 (well, it is Bigelow now)
Mean score – 94 and a quarter. Extremely enjoyable and recommended… as long as you’re okay with it not being organic.
Photos and tags to follow.