Tea Giving: Day 14 (Kenya Black)

pearl_KenyaKickStartDay14

Start your engines.

If you are a black tea lover, like your black tea robust, lean towards the British style of teatime (cream and sugar) and need to being the day with some power, this is your cuppa.

Kenya Black, CTC (or Morning Kickstart) is a single origin tea from Kenya with no pretense. No fan fare. No parade. No fancy words attached to it. It’s less dressed up and more: “Cut to the chase. I just want a great every day strong black tea.”

It is exceptionally smooth for a full-bodied black tea. Ours is organic and comes from Western Kenya where the rainfall is abundant and the soil is extremely fertile with red volcanic soil. The growing region is quite unique in Kenya overall and the first African tea bushes are said to have been planted in 1903 by settlers from Europe. Today there are over a billion tea bushes spread out of 4,000 miles in the Highlands. Plantations do much better at higher elevations that are over 4,500 feet. Tea grows all year in Kenya, but the cream of the crop is plucked from January to early March; then from the end of June through July. The majority of tea produced is CTC  and thats why our Kenya Black CTC after it. It’s the only CTC style tea carried by Pearl Fine Teas. 

pearl_KenyablackinbagCTC is machine processed and fully oxidized tea using whole leaves which are macerated and then rolled into little balls or pellets and oxidized.  It makes for a very quick infusion. The end flavor of some CTCs can lack complexity and is often used for tea in bags, but not this one. There is a depth and complexity to it that also stays true to the traditional black tea flavor we’ve come to know and love.

This is one of our go-to black teas and is often recommended to our die-hard black tea lovers who loyal to black tea. It stands up well to additions like milk, cream, sugar and spices but is delightful on its own. But remember: its a robust black tea with a very fast infusion time so keep that in mind when brewing.

To kick off Day 14 of our 25 Days of Tea on this busy Monday, please enjoy 25% OFF our Kenya Black, CTC Morning Kickstart by using code TEAGIVING14 at checkout on the website.

Don’t forget to add a biscuit / cookie to compliment your cuppa.

Happy Sipping!
~The Chief Leaf

 

Tea Giving: Day 14 (Kenya Black)

10 facts about Teas from Kenya

“Kenya has a love affair with their land and takes great pride in farming”David Walker

If you haven’t tried tea from this part of the world, you are missing out on something special. I had the pleasure of attending a World Origin Tea Tasting at the World Tea Expo East in Philadelphia and Kenya was represented. Here are 10 interesting facts you may not have know Kenya and its teas:

  1. 1903  – Kenya tea production begins
  2. Assamica is the varietal used and it produces a beautiful red color in the cup as opposed to a golden color
  3. 300 tons of CTC tea is produced a year
  4. Tea is the #1 foreign exchange for Kenya
  5. $67 billing shillings earned from tea export
  6. Tea is mainly grown by small scale farmers
  7. There are 550,000 tea farmers in Kenya
  8. Tea affects 3 million people in Africa
  9. Orthodox teas are better for farmer wages
  10. Best paid tea farmers in the world are Kenyan.

I tried a few teas during the tasting but the two that stood out was a brilliant white tea called White Whisper and Grandpa’s Anytime, CTC Black tea.

White Whisper dry and wet leaf

“White Whisper” Orthodox White Tea: An absolute delight. Light and floral with hints of fruit, there was no bitterness or astringency. The color in the cup was almost clear which made it even more surprising when I tasted the liquor and was surprised by the lovely flavor. “This tea placed in the top 5 at the 2011 North American Tea Championship. White Whisper ranked 5th as the only white orthodox tea from Africa to be placed . “White Whisper” was rated as “Very Good: a tea with superior characteristics.” –Joy Njguna, Royal Tea of Kenya

Arthur, the oldest tea man in the world

Grandpa’s Anytime Tea, CTC black tea: The name of this tea is in honor of Arthur, the oldest tea farmer in the world (111years).  His life story about how his family contributed to political and economic change in Kenya is humbling and I believe is being considered for a book and/or documentary. Grandpa’s tea is simply out of this world. Strong, bold and without bitterness – amazing flavor for a CTC.  Though I dont take tea with milk, this tea can hold its own. Its just the kick one needs to get the day started and makes for a lovely breakfast tea.

We feel fortunate to be among the few who will be carrying these two teas, which should be arriving any day so keep checking back on our site!

Support farmers. Sip tea. Feel happy!

10 facts about Teas from Kenya

Tea and Caffeine

Morning Peeps...

Its been a month since I blogged. Bad me. I’ve been focusing on new ventures that are coming up this fall. Like teaching a tea class at Open Kitchen and attending expos and events (more on that later). I have been loyal to my morning cup of Jade Oolong and Im about to cup a few more this afternoon. Yeah me!

I was sifting through some old emails and came across this interesting bit from my Peep over in England, Nigel Melican. He is an expert on many many tea related issues especially caffeine. So Id like to share with you what he said recently. A question was asked:

Q. “First, I was wondering which tea had the greatest caffeine content White,Green,or Black?…

A. “A 2007 study in Germany (Hilal & Engelhardt) looked at 30 Black teas, 2 sets of 30 Green teas & 30 White teas. This is the most comprehensive study I know. They found a range of caffeine:


Black tea 2.0 to 5.4% – average 3.5%

Green tea (1) 1.5 to 5.2% – average 3.4%

Green tea (2) 1.7 to 3.9% – average 2.9%

White tea 3.4 to 5.7% – average 4.9%


My conclusion from this is that to drink any particular color of tea for its low or high level is to fool yourself. Despite what many misguided (or unscrupulous) vendors may tell you, your black could be as low as 2.0% and your green as high as 5.2% – and even on average (if you could ever find an average tea) a black will be the same caffeine level as a green – from sample set 1 at least.


White tea scores higher on average than black or green, though a ‘high’ black or green could still beat a ‘low’ white.


Steeping practice will modify caffeine intake more than your choice of tea type. Halve the tea you use = 50% less caffeine in your cup. Treble steep your green or white teas and you will have significantly less caffeine per oz of water consumed than in a single steep of black.


Finally, don’t worry so much about caffeine in tea. Nature provided tea polyphenols to complex it – so you do not get the coffee jitters from tea – and the unique relaxing L-theanine to balance caffeine’s energizing effects. New research (in mice only, so far) points to caffeine having a protecting and reversing affect on Alzheimer dementia at a dose of 500mg per day – around 14 cups! That has to be an argument for increased tea drinking.


Analysis shows that the African cultivars are consistently high for caffeine content. Some can be up to 6% in parts of the year and the CTC manufactured types are the highest. Teas from Kenya and Rwanda are particularly good for combination of taste, high caffeine and high L-theanine (the stress busting amino acid unique to tea). In USA though it’s difficult to find these teas as straight origins. I suggest you seek out a supplier of Taylors Yorkshire Gold – their blend incorporates a lot of the best African teas – good and strong and my favorite for the morning wake up cuppa.

Q. “I know this has been addressed in the past, but once again….Which if any tea has the most caffine? I am a loose tea drinker, but also love my coffee. Coffee isnt agreeing with me anymore, but Ive gotta have that “buzz” in the morning to get me going. I have a job where I sit all day and look at a computer, and need to stay awake!…[I’d] appreciate anything you can advise me on.”


A.  “Analysis shows that the African cultivars are consistently high for caffeine content. Some can be up to 6% in parts of the year and the CTC manufactured types are the highest. Teas from Kenya and Rwanda are particularly good for combination of taste, high caffeine and high L-theanine (the stress busting amino acid unique to tea). In USA though it’s difficult to find these teas as straight origins. I suggest you seek out a supplier of Taylors Yorkshire Gold – their blend incorporates a lot of the best African teas – good and strong and my favorite for the morning wake up cuppa.”


There you have it. Thanks Nigel!

Happy Sipping!

__,_._,___

Tea and Caffeine