(BPT) - The world's largest ball of twine is in Darwin, Minnesota. The world's largest bicyclist is in Sparta, Wisconsin. And now the home of the world's largest glass of ice tea is officially Summerville, South Carolina, fittingly the birthplace of sweet tea.
The world-record setting glass was poured during a day-long event that took place on National Tea Day, June 10. Summerville Mayor Bill Collins, experts from Bigelow Tea's Charleston Tea Plantation and a crowd of 5,000 people were on hand to witness the creation. The 10-foot tall jar (12-foot with straw), dubbed 'Mason,' was constructed of fiberglass and held 1,425 gallons of brew made from 120 pounds of black tea leaves from Bigelow's Charleston Tea Plantation. The other ingredients included 1,600 pounds of sugar and 3,000 pounds of ice to keep the tea below 46 degrees.
Once filled, Mason was supported on a platform with four casters and weighed in at 6,000 pounds. The final product was enough to beat the 2010 record held by Chick-fil-A restaurants that featured a nine-foot cup and 1,140 gallons of brewed tea made from 72 pounds of tea leaves, 1,150 pounds of sugar, 2,000 pounds of ice.
South Carolina a fitting location
The Palmetto State has a rich history when it comes to brewing tea. In fact, tea plants have been grown in South Carolina since the colonial 1700s when the Camellia sinensis first arrived in the United States from China. American tea first became a reality in 1888 when Dr. Charles Shepard founded the Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville, South Carolina.
Although the Pinehurst Tea Plantation no longer exists, the tea bushes at the Charleston Tea Plantation, started in 1987 by Bill Hall and fully restored after being acquired in 2003 by Eunice and David Bigelow and family-owned Bigelow Tea (now in its 70th year), are descendants of these very bushes.
Today, the 127-acre Charleston Tea Plantation that supplied the tea leaves for Mason, has become the standard bearer for the long and illustrious American tea story. The working tea farm entices more than 70,000 people from all over the world who visit annually to see lush tea fields and witness the growing, harvesting, withering and oxidation processes involved in transforming freshly grown Camellia sinensis leaves into rich, flavorful 100 percent American grown tea. This vibrant piece of Americana, open to the public, is located on picturesque Wadmalaw Island, just south of Charleston, in the heart of South Carolina's Lowcountry. Admission is free.
For more information on The Charleston Tea Plantation and Bigelow Tea, visit BigelowTea.com/Charleston-Tea-Plantation.