A Few Surprising Facts About African Teas

Kenyan Tea production

Did you know that Kenya is the third largest tea producer behind China and India? Have you heard of the South African tea (herbal) that can treat stomach cramps, headaches, allergies, asthma, insomnia, eczema, acne and high blood pressure? Are you aware that African tea production dates back to the 19th century?

Kenyan Tea

Most of the top tea producing nations do so on massive industrialized plantations. In contrast, approximately 90% of the tea produced is grown on small farms of less than one acre. In order to keep up with competition, Kenya has shifted its focus to innovation, research and development in the industry. They’ve become leaders in developing new varieties that grow more abundantly, and those that are better able to withstand the weather conditions, as well as single-origin artisan teas. Due to this focus on innovation an quality, Kenya has become the largest exporter of tea to the U.K. According to Angela Pryce, an independent tea consultant and former master buyer and blender for Twinings, nearly 50% of its tea is from Kenya.

Malawian Tea

Malawi has the oldest plantations in all of Africa, with some bushes dating back to 1891. As such, Malawian teas tend to be richer and deeper than those produced from Kenya. Malawi exports over 35,000 tons of tea annually. Malawi exports tea to over 30 countries including the U.K., U.S., Canada, Pakistan, and the Middle East. In 2006, a U.K. consultant to the international tea industry began working with a Malawian tea estate to develop special teas. He discovered that African tea bushes which had traditionally produced strong, red-liquoring CTC black teas could create delicate white teas with soft, floral rose scents, and mild, non-astringent green teas with notes of sweet and fruity apricot.

South African Tea

Native to the western cape of the South African, Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss) has long been the national drink. Rooibos does not contain caffeine, is high in antioxidants, and has a trove of vitamins and minerals. Its great taste, unique color, and health benefits make it a wildly popular worldwide phenomenon. Its medicinal attributes have been confirmed by the US Department of Agriculture, which has affirmed that red rooibos tea is capable of reducing cancer, heart diseases, premature aging, and other serious conditions.

Works Cited

The Worlds Top 10 Tea Producing Nations | World Atlas
Special Brew: Africa’s Love Affair with Tea | CNN
The Teas of Malawi – Africa’s Second Largest Tea Producer | The Tea Detective
The Tao of Tea | WebMD

 

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