When you think of great tea-growing regions, the United States doesn't immediately spring to mind. Nor does England, in spite of their legendary fondness for the drink. But tea growers have turned up in both countries lately and, by all accounts, are doing rather well.
Tea has actually been grown in the United States - primarily in South Carolina - since 1848. Charleston Tea Plantation, growers of tea marketed under the American Classic Tea brand and for a long time one of the nation's only such concerns, has been operating in South Carolina since 1987. For a good summary of tea history in this region, see Martha Bowes' article, Brewing Up American Pride: Charleston Tea, over at Tea Muse.
Now Hawaii - a state better known for its premium grade Kona coffee - is taking a crack at tea production, according to a recent article from MSNBC. The effort, set in motion by the United States Agriculture Department and the University of Hawaii, has been going on for about five years and the crop currently occupies a modest eight acres. For more information, check out the Web presence for the Hawaii Tea Society.
Over in England, according to another MSNBC article, tea is under cultivation, for the first time, at the Tregothnan estate, in the southwest part of the country. Things got underway there in 1999 and the premium tea is finally hitting the market.