Courtesy: Kibenda Tea Estate in Nairobi
I love tea parties….it is the perfect laid back way one can catch up with friends and family and I love the fact that I have a tea house right across my home near Citywalk. But how much do we know about the tea we drink. When it comes to tea, one usually associates the hot beverage with India, Sri Lanka or China. But did you know that, according to the leading online statistics portal Statistica, Kenya exports more tea than any of these countries above? In light of International Tea Day on 15th December, here are some fun facts you probably did not know about Kenyan tea.
1. Tea was first brought to Limuru, Kenya by by G.W.L Caine in 1903 from India. A short drive from Nairobi, you can visit the Kiambethu plantation in Limuru and take a tour of this historical site.
2. Many know that tea is ‘chai’ in Hindi and Urdu; but did you know that it is also called ‘chai’ in Swahili? That means that when you say ‘chai tea’, you are actually saying ‘tea tea’.
3. Over 60 per cent of Kenyan tea is produced by smallholder farmers. That means when you’re drinking tea from Kenya, you are most likely supporting the local tea farming industry!
4. Kenya’s top export is tea, with $915 million worth of tea exported around the world in 2013. Kenya mostly exports tea to Egypt, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the UK and the UAE. In recent years, Angola, Vietnam, Philippines, Azerbaijan, South Korea, Czech Republic, Myanmar and South Sudan are slowly joining the Kenyan tea bandwagon.
5. Kenya mostly produces black tea but in recent years, the market has begun to diversify with green teas, white teas and even white matchas.