Since 1945, the Bigelow Tea Company has been supplying New England and beyond with quality teas, and none is more popular than the brand’s signature blend, Constant Comment. It was invented by Ruth Campbell Bigelow in the kitchen of her New York City brownstone in 1945. Unhappy with the teas available on the market at the time, Bigelow took inspiration from an early Colonial-era recipe and blended her black tea with orange rind and sweet spices. The new flavor was so popular among her friends that it received “constant comments.” Armed with a name for her custom blend, the Bigelow Tea Company was born and a headquarters established in nearby Connecticut.
Ads for Constant Comment are a familiar sight when looking through the Yankee Magazine archives. This one showed up in the July 1958 issue:
Bigelow was, and still is, family-run. Ruth and her husband David Bigelow started the company, but were soon joined by their son David and his wife Eunice. The couple’s two daughters have since followed suit as the company continued to grow. In the 1970s, the family expanded the idea of “specialty tea” to the mass market and added the individual foil pouch to guarantee optimum freshness and flavor for its now 120 different teas.
Bigelow is also the proud owner of the only working tea farm in America. With roots stretching back to the late 19th century, the Charleston Tea Plantation (home of American Classic Tea) is a 127-acre tea-lovers delight just 20 miles outside of Charleston, SC. Saved from a developer by Bigelow in 2003, the plantation grows both black and green teas in more than 320 varieties. An on-site visitor center also documents the tea growing and harvesting process.
With a flavor that many describe as “Christmas in a tea bag,” Constant Comment is the same festively fragrant and perfectly warming cuppa today as it was in Ruth’s kitchen in 1945. Paired with a few crisp cookies, it was the perfect mid-morning treat on a recent overcast morning that hinted at the crisp autumn days to come.
Are you a fan of Constant Comment? Which tea in the Bigelow line is your favorite?