Fairfield-based Bigelow Tea has really "steeped" up support for American troops on duty around the world.

The tea maker has shipped more than 3.4 million tea bags (roughly 165,000 boxes) of its American Classic Tea to troops serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and other international outposts.

Four years ago, Cindi Bigelow, the president and CEO of Bigelow Tea, initiated the "Tea for the Troops" program, which sends specially designed boxes of the company's American Classic tea to U.S. military personnel. In the past year, Bigelow has shipped more than 15,000 boxes of tea, according to the business.

Bigelow's American Classic tea is grown and produced on at the company's Charleston tea plantation on Wadmalaw Island, S.C.

"Sending our soldiers a little bit of home in the form of our American Classic tea package is our way of recognizing and thanking them for the sacrifices they make so that we can enjoy the freedoms we all share," Bigelow said in a statement.

"We've heard from many soldiers thanking us for the tea," Bigelow said. "Tea provides a degree of comfort and a reminder of home, which we know soldiers appreciate."

Working with the USO, the tea was delivered to Iraq, Afghanistan and other USO facilities where troops stay on their way to and from deployment. Bigelow also distributed tea at Veterans Administration hospitals and through VFW chapters.

To make the next donation special, Bigelow Tea enlisted the community at its recent Bigelow Tea Community Challenge road races in Fairfield to hand-write personal messages to the troops.

The Bigelow Tea headquarters is at 201 Black Rock Turnpike. For more information about the family-owned business, go to: www.bigelowtea.com or www. facebook.com/bigelowtea