Beginners Guide to African Teas: from Zero to Pro!
Africa has gifted us with many blessings. From glimmering worthy diamonds to oils, iron, and minerals, hundreds of natural assets make Africa a worthy continent. Above these opulent resources lies its rich culture and people, which makes it even worthier to explore.
Yet this story is not about its Oils or Diamonds. This is about something very unique, natural, and flavorsome.
A glimpse of tea history in Africa…
Have you ever heard of the historical explorer Ibn Battuta?
Some say that it was he who first introduced Tea seeds into Africa. Another story passes the credit to Sino-African trade bonds that existed in the 14th century. However, like in many of their other colonies, it was British planters that first started commercial-scale tea cultivation in Africa. Back then, it was merely to strengthen the supply side of tea for Britain, but surely no one would have predicted that the African tea trade would come this far, as it holds nearly 30% share from the global tea exports today.
So what is African tea?
That deep red-black tea you enjoy sipping in the morning as a breakfast tea could be from Africa though your supplier doesn’t say it. Here the flavors are so rich and unique thanks to its virgin lands, rich soils, and abundant sunshine, so it has become a popular tea source for large multinational tea packers to use in their tea blends along with teas from other origins. There is nothing wrong with this blending if you do it correctly. However, this process makes it hard to find pure African teas. As tea lovers, you deserve to explore and experience the original flavors of African teas, as you enjoy other origin specialty teas like Darjeeling or Ceylon teas.
At Asami Teas, this is what we stand up to! We aim at sharing true African tea flavors with the world, and it comes in all shapes and types like Black, Green, Whites, and herbals. But, before digging deep into flavors and teas, let's learn a bit more about this historic commodity.
Tea producing countries in Africa
Africa tea producers have collectively produced 160 thousand metric tons of tea during the year 2020, and these are the main contributors to this share.
Kenya tea production accounts for the biggest share from the African continent, and the county has successfully secured its title as the 3rd largest tea producer in the world. Back in the day, it all had started on a small two-acre farm, but see where they are today! Kenya nearly grows around 200,000ha of tea land area currently, with most of it occupied by small farmers or smallholders. Kenya certainly has got its fame for producing Black tea, but the country does produce other tea types such as Green teas and White teas as well. Kenyan teas are bright and carry a reddish coppery color backed by their iconic full-bodied character and aroma.
Uganda stands next to Kenya with its production quantities and is renowned for its clean & blackish leaf appearance that helps tea blenders in many ways.
Malawi holds the record for having the first-ever commercial tea cultivation in Africa back in the 1880s. The teas produced in the country may not be as renowned as Kenya, however, it carries a useful brightness and rich color, cherished by tea packers.
Other than the above counters, the tea producer list goes on passing countries like Tanzania, Rwanda, Mozambique, Burundi, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe, with each contributing their level best to the African tea industry
Apart from these tea producers, South Africa plays a strong position as the producer country of Rooibos or red tea, one of the most popular herbal tea types around the world.
What teas can you find from Africa?
When it comes to producing verities of teas, Africa stays in competition with many other tea producers in the world. Yes, the continent produces a majority of Black tea, processes in both CTC and Orthodox styles. Apart from black teas, Green teas, White teas, Oolongs, and some post-fermented tea types are also produced on small scale. When it comes to herbal teas, Rooibos and Honey bush teas contribute to the share in most.
So what are the top African teas you must try as a tea lover?
· Kenyan Purple tea: This brand new tea discovery is a must-try if you cherish innovative tea ideas. The teas are harvested from a very special tea plant type that is purple in color. The teas made from these plants are unique, as it brews into a golden cup with a purple tint. (Try Now)
· Kenyan CTC teas: This might be the most common black tea type you might know as African tea. Kenyan CTCs are very rich and colorful, suits ideally for making breakfast teas and tea bags.
· African Leafy teas: This is where all the fun begins. Unlike common yet renowned CTC teas, African leaf teas come in all descent sizes and shapes, crafted for perfection. Here the flavors are sensational with their inherent briskness and lighter-bodied character. At Asami, we enjoy these leaf teas a lot, as they are sensational when sipped pure. On the other hand, these make delicious brews when fused with herbals and other ingredients. (Try now)
· African Herbal Teas: Africa is famous for its native herb Rooibos, but there are quite a lot that we must explore as herbs of Africa. Herbal ingredients like mint, lemongrass, and cocoa could create refreshing and soothing fusions when combined with real tea types. (Shop now)
Asami is your specialty African tea company, and each tea we present for your enjoyment is really
unique and delicious. We are on a solo journey in bringing authentic and rare African tea flavors to the world. Yes! It has been quite a journey, and we have found many treasures along the way to share with you. Join with us today, and these flavors will never disappoint your love for a great cup of tea. (Shop now)