“Spilling the Tea” seems to be a phrase associated with drag culture – especially if you watch any episodes of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race”. If you’ve never heard the expression before, pay attention: it’s showing up everywhere.
I’m bringing it to your awareness today for all the global tea farmers that not only struggle to get their tea to the buying public–and that is after all their great efforts to grow and produce their leaves–but I’m also doing it for all of those who have battled for decades just to be farmers.
“Spilling the tea,” means spilling the truth, revealing the truth, telling the truth.
Most of us do not know the truth of the tea farmer and everything he or she has been through in their journey to bring us tea.
The internet and social media are helping us to become more aware, this is true, but do we dig a bit deeper when asked to sample the tea of a farmer?
When approached by Paul (Kevin) Karanja from Kenya to sample his White Silver Needles tea, and upon composing this post I wanted to dig deeper.
His selection of white tea arrived quickly, and it was beautiful to behold. Soft and delicate little leaves still holding on tightly to their fine silver velvety coating – it looked like as fine of a sample as I’ve ever seen before. It tasted light, floral, with some sweet vegetal hints, which left a honey-like taste in the back of my throat. The infusion was faint, the aroma suggested spring with fruity overtones, and simply begged for another steeping – and then another.
No, not all white tea is good white tea, as many of us have discovered, and this one did not disappoint at all. However, it was just another white tea tasting – and I wanted more. I wanted the “tea” about the tea – the “tea” about the area, about the farmer, about the land, about the history, about the family. I wanted to spill all the “tea” about the tea. Simply sharing the tea itself just wasn’t enough.
I contacted Mr. Karanja through LinkedIn with several questions – several times!
Here is one of his responses:
“The tea is grown at the slopes of Mt. Kenya Region, a place called Kirinyaga. We are small-scale tea farmers that join hands to produce the White Silver Needles Tea. The tea does well because of the high altitude and because we are close to the equator.”
After more questions:
“Yes, I am a tea farmer, and my late grandfather was a tea farmer from a tea growing region in the slopes of Mt. Kenya. My grandfather and mother had been tea and coffee farmers for most of their lives. I learnt about the white tea variety from the Kenya Tea Research Institute. The White Tea Pilot Project began in 2013 with various tea farmers from the Mt. Kenya Region. My company’s name is PAKEV INTERNATIONAL. I am currently developing a website.”
There is much to learn about this region of the world. Please use the link below to discover this amazing county in Kenya. It’s much cooler in temperature than I ever dreamed it would be, and wait till you learn about how much rain they get annually in that area!
Image provided and copyright held by author
To be concluded in tomorrow’s post