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Organic Kenyan Silver Needle - 30g

  • Variety: White
  • Origin: Kangaita Village, Kirinyaga County, Mount Kenya Region, Kenya
  • Farmer: Kangaita farming collective
  • Trees: 60 years
  • Elevation: 2100 m
  • Harvest: April 2015
  • Taste: marzipan, silky, white peach, aromatic
  • Brewing: 90˚, 3g (2 tsp) per 200 ml, 30 sec, 4-5 infusions. Increase subsequent infusion times to taste.
  • Storage: dark and airtight container

 

Preparation

Classic

This tea can be made in a classic teapot, following the tradition of 1tsp per person and 1 for the pot. Add 90˚ spring or filtered water or 1 minute off the boil and infuse for 5 minutes. This tea should be drunk on its own without milk or sugar.

 

Gaiwan / Artisan Press / Yixing Tea Pot

Warm and rinse your vessel and cups with boiled water. Place two teaspoons or 3g of tea into your vessel. A simple rule of thumb is that the leaves should generously cover the bottom. Add spring or filtered water at 90° or 1 minute off the boil. Infuse for 30 seconds and pour into your cup(s). Remember to re-infuse 3-4 times, increasing steeping time to taste. Enjoy the evolution of taste as the leaves release their nutrients

 

 Story

This is the finest Silver Needle I have ever tasted. It has outstanding mouth feel, intoxicating fragrance, and the notes are smooth with complex depth. It was auspiciously sourced through our friends at The Lovely T. It is grown high on the slopes of Mt. Kenya by small-scale farmers in their own tea gardens and processed in a small local factory that they jointly own.

 

We interviewed Joris and Silvia founders of The Lovely T to find more about their tea, farming cooperative and social outreach.

 

Where does your tea originate from

The tea originates from the Mt. Kenya region in Kenya, at an altitude of about 2100m above sea level.

 

Can you tell me about the farmers or tea estates

Kenya is divided into tea zones made up of smallholder farmers. The acreage that each farmer has is too small to be called an estate. The only estates are mostly mechanised and owned by the large multinationals - Lipton, Finlays, etc. I guess the closest you could get is to label us as originating from Kangaita Village in Kirinyaga County.

 

How do you harvest and process

We harvest year-round, thanks to favourable soils and climate - with peak harvests during the heavy rains from April to June and October to December. All our teas are hand-picked, but the Silver Needle is picked in the late morning when dry, and the leaf shoot (the needle) is separated from the two other shoots just before wilting. We wilt the leaves indoors to ensure that we can process irrespective of the weather and low temperature bake-dry to fix the enzymes.

 

How long has your family been farming for

My family, like most in the area, has been farming for the last three generations, starting somewhere around the early 1950's.

 

What inspired you to start creating orthodox teas

Smallholder farmers in Kenya have always been at the mercy of the flux in the world markets where multinational tea brands actively pursue the lowest possible price. Because Kenya mostly supplies CTC (teabag-grade) processed teas, it is blended with teas from other origins and doesn't enjoy the name recognition that, say, Darjeeling teas have - effectively creating a no-name brand. Orthodox teas create a way for us to export a truly premium quality tea that offers a recognisable alternative, refined flavour to premium Asian teas. The prices that these teas command vs teabag-grade teas are a simple and sustainable way to increase the income levels of everyone involved in the production chain.

 

Has your tea always been organic

The Kenyan highlands are blessed with rich, well-drained soils and a climate that keeps the bushes pest and disease free. We do use a small amount of added nitrates when the seedling is first planted to ensure a strong start. It takes about 4 years before we can harvest from it and other than the initial addition, we only use manure and compost-based fertilisation for the gardens. I think it's safe to say that these teas were 'organic' even before 'organic' was a thing.

 

Sustainability and social outreach

As part of a cooperative, the sales of our teas contribute to larger social outreach programmes organised across the tea-region. As a brand we are choosing to focus on more small-scale immediate improvements, such as helping to electrify the villages from which we employ and helping to set up a reliable transport system to reduce the amount of time people spend walking to and from work. This scale of project is the kind that we can sustain as an independent brand without the danger of having to stop supporting it if revenue decreases.

 

SKU: 7JST-007


Availability: Out of stock

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