As a guest, and resident tea sommelier for JusTea, I am finally heading out for my first trip to the Kenyan tea fields after a successful launch of some of the country’s finest orthodox tea – a country that is legendary mainly for its CTC black tea. But this trip is not just about inspecting tea bushes and tea tasting, JusTea is delving to the very heart of tea poverty – the terrible disconnect between the tea bush on the small farms of Kenya, and the cup of black tea that you and I enjoy. (Kenya is the world’s number one producer of black tea.)
My friends tell me that in Kenya, anytime is Chai time – reminds me a little of the Inuit actually – except Kenya’s culture is a mix of the British tea traditions and the chai spices of India. This spicy tea is served from a thermos with most meals. I have to say that I’m looking forward to spending time looking out on the jade green terraces of tea fields after each meal, while sipping a hot cup of chai on the verandah as the seasonal afternoon showers wash over the gardens below.
Grayson and Paul of JusTea, who I will be accompanying, want to invest in direct trade partnerships with Kenyan farmers. Starting with assisting them to become experts at making black tea and eliminating costly middlemen, we will set up and build a small tea-processing factory that will allow the Kenyan farmers to improve and advance their newfound tea-making skills. Much to my pleasure, I will be slurping and spitting throughout the whole process.
Tea grower Davison is the farm where we will start our Kenyan tea safari. He is a classic case of a tea farmer living below the poverty line. His challenges to feed his family and send his kids to school could easily be alleviated if he could just add value to his family’s tea farm by hand-processing his wet tea leaf into malty black orthodox tea (that we so love on our side of the Atlantic), rather then selling off just the wet leaf to the KTDA and getting next to nothing.
Air travel and ground costs do not come cheap – neither does setting up a small tea-processing kitchen. So if I may ask the reader, can you help JusTea fund my journey and build the first-ever tea-processing kitchen at the farm level?
You can join us, in establishing a direct relationship with families like Davison’s, so that you, the tea drinker, can experience true community with Kenyan tea growers and assist them in raising their standard of living through the creation of hand crafted orthodox tea.
Here are the ways you can contribute to this campaign:
1. Purchase an amazing reward at www.justea.com, the tea is amazing!
2. Share our story and campaign with as many of your friends on Facebook by visiting the Facebook page at Justeatea.
With Gratitude & Thanks,
Images provided by the author via JusTea.