Your fave little teapot here to tell you about some great tastebud pleasing teas from a part of the world where tea growing is a bit new (relative to India, China, etc.). That country: Kenya.
Tea growing began in Kenya in 1903. GWL Caine planted in a location now known as Limuru (previously known as the “white highlands”, a rich agricultural land just south of the equator that was settled primarily by Europeans). About 21 years later Malcolm Fyers Bell, acting for Brooke Bond (former owners of the PG Tips brand), came to Kenya to start the first commercially oriented estates. Today, tea is a key export and Kenya ranks third in the world after China and India for tea production.
Shop here for teas from Kenya:
This popularity of Kenyan tea is mainly due to the quality of their black tea, which accounts for most of their tea production, that comes from the tropical climate and rich volcanic soils. The taste and aroma of these teas have won international acclaim. Only the upper young tea leaves and a bud are handpicked and skillfully processed, giving the infused liquid a distinct bright color and aromatic flavor.
These teas are used mainly in blends to raise the quality of inferior teas. Some vendors, though, are carrying pure Kenyan teas. Find them, if you can, and buy some. They will be worth the effort. Most is in CTC (cut, tear, curl) form, but some is in orthodox form. Green tea is available, as are some white and oolong style teas.
Tea Growing Areas
The areas where tea is grown can be divided into the highlands on the east and west of the Rift Valley.
Western highlands growing areas:
Eastern highlands growing areas:
A Great Kenyan Tea We’ve Tried
The first step with any tea we explore is to cut open the package and observe the dry tea. It can tell you a lot. This tea spoke volumes! The aroma hits the nose right away, but it’s a gentle caress, not a left hook. It’s rich, malty, and somewhat raisiny. My humans got those goofy grins on their faces right away. A sign of good things to come. This is a CTC style tea, machine processed into tiny nuggets similar to what Grape Nuts cereal looks like. We weren’t sure if more than one infusion would be possible, but it was worth a try. Time to start the steeping!
Since this is a black tea, we used boiling water. The first steeping was for 3 minutes. That way we figured there’d be some tea “goodness” left in the nuggets for a 2nd steeping. The color was a typical reddish brown and had a very rich aroma, like the dry tea had. There was a bit of bitterness in the aftertaste that was smoothed with the addition of some milk and sweetener.
The 2nd infusion was done for 5 minutes so we could get a bit more out of the dry tea. The flavor was free of any bitterness and still appealing, also taking milk and sweetener well. Get the most out of this tea by steeping two infusions, one right after the other, and then combing the liquid. It will give you a balanced flavor that can be enjoyed both straight and with that milk and sweetener added.
About the company: No longer in business. Shirlene Davis was the principal owner, and Joy. N was the Founder. They were in Nashville, Tennessee. They sold exclusively wholesale at the time we tried this tea.
Disclaimer: This tea was provided by the company named. However, any opinions concerning this tea and the company are always strictly objective.
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