Everyone raves about Chinese, Indian or Japanese tea and for no wonder. These countries have been producing tea for many centuries and have undoubtedly mastered the art of it. But tea is not only grown in these areas of the world. One of the biggest tea producing countries in the world -that you probably don’t know much about- is Kenya.
And let me tell you, if you have never tried Kenyan tea before you are missing out! In this post, you will learn 10+ interesting facts about Kenya and its tea production.
- Tea was first introduced in Kenya in 1903 by GWL Caine and was planted in the city Limuru.
- Although planting was cut back in 1933 because of a depressed market, tea is today one of Kenya’s most important cash crops.
- Commercialization of tea started in 1924.
- Kenya mainly produces black tea and prides itself as one of the world’s leading black Tea producers.
- Currently Kenya is ranked third behind China and India in tea production.
- Kenya is the largest producers of tea in Africa, and it has quadrupled its exports over the last decade.
- The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) has 66 tea factories serving about 500,000 small scale farmers cultivating over 100,000 ha.
- Tea is planted in an area of over 157,720 hectares, and production reaches almost 340,000 metric tones of made tea.
- Over 325,533 metric tones of tea are exported.
- Although most growing regions in Kenya use manual labour, multinational companies currently use tea plucking machines.
- Volcanic soils, long sunny days and rainfall between 1200mm to 1400mm per annum, make Kenya’s climate ideal for tea cultivation.
- Most teas grown in the country are from the Camellia sinensis assamica. Assamica is more drought resistant and is known to produce a beautiful red colored tea as opposed to a golden color.
- The first Tea bushes have grown into large trees, forming an historical feature on what is now Unilever’s Mabroukie Tea Estate.
- Tea grown in Kenya is processed using the Crush, Tear, Curl (CTC) method, making it a desirable tea to use in many popular black-tea blends like breakfast teas.
- Kenyan tea farmers are of the best paid tea farmers in the world.
- Kenya tea is produced without use of any agrochemicals. Only fertilizers are used to replenish the soils.
- There are about 50 varieties of tea, which are developed to suit the seven tea growing regions.
Who would have thought that Kenya is such an important tea producer.. So are you interested in discovering Kenya tea? It is indeed some of the greatest and healthiest teas in the world and every tea lover ought to try it!