Updated: Feb 1
Kenyan tea is known for its brightness and fresh taste, mostly due to the fact that it is grown and harvested all year round. But Kenya is also pioneering the research into special new strains of tea, some of which we stock here at R-tea. Tea was first grown in Kenya back in 1903 when the Caine brothers brought seeds from India and grew them in an area near Limuru. The full scale commercialisation of tea didn't actually happen until 1924 when Brooke Bonds set out to establish their own commercial tea gardens. CTC (cut, tear, curl) teas are the main product from Kenya due to the all year round production availability, often used in English Breakfast blends and make Kenya the 2nd largest exporter of tea in the world after China.
Kenya's ideal location means it has the perfect growing conditions for tea; tropical climate, volcanic soil, optimal rainfall and long sunny days. The tea in Kenya is grown on either side of the Great Rift Valley, the West Rift is where the large scale privately owned farms are producing the bulk CTC teas. Whereas the East Rift more small holder farms are situated producing CTC as well as higher quality specialty teas. These small scale tea gardens are managed by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) which have over 65 factories serving 500,000 small scale farmers.
Our very own Kingly Kenya tea is from the KTDA which has been produced by these small scale farmers. We have selected a high quality variety with extra tips. The tips or buds of the tea leaves are said to contain the best flavour. The Tea Research Foundation of Kenya (TRFK) is also engaged in developing different variants of tea, to improve their yeild and also their resistance to disease. Another development is to increase the antioxidant properties of tea which has seen the creation of a rare Purple Tea which we stock here at R-tea.