It’s taken me a while to find an orthodox African tea. It’s generally too difficult to control quality, so they all become CTC pellets instead. This Orthodox Kenyan black tea from Stash Tea hits the spot.
|Blend Name||Kenya Black|
|Country of Origin||Kenya|
|Price per Package||$4.95 USD|
|Quantity||~ 1.75 oz|
|*Flavor, Aroma, Boldness|
As it happens, there are roughly three million (with an M) tea farmers in Kenya. But they each have only a few acres of farmland on average, making quality control notoriously difficult.
Kenya is not alone. Most of the African tea producing nations seem to struggle with this. From Rwanda and Tanzania to Kenya and Somalia African nations just aren't known for high quality teas.
It's mostly from these countries we find most black teas in tea bags. Classic Lipton and Twinings mostly come from Kenya and Tanzania. And while these are some of the most widely consumed teas, they're not what the industry would consider 'premium quality' and very few of them are offered loose.
I have been on a quest for a while now to find truly outstanding orthodox teas from Africa, and Kenya in particular. I have some friends who do humanitarian work over there and wanted to give them something they could enjoy and identify with.
That's why I was so surprised this Kenyan tea from Stash Tea was orthodox. Even modern and inspirational young brands from Kenya such as Ajiri Tea don't do orthodox teas. The quality is just too difficult to control. I'm not sure how they did it, but this tea is fantastic!
The leaves are short and slender twists of a grey-black color and have a mild dry aroma which reminds me of a block of hay or straw. Oddly relaxing in its own way.
Once steeped, the liquor brews a nice amber color and shares a warm slightly spiced, slightly fired aroma which is equal parts comforting and enticing.
This Kenya Black from Stash Tea is soft on the palate. Unlike similar teas from Africa, it doesn't seem to dry out the mouth. The finish is ever so lightly astringent and provides just the right pucker.
If you like milk and/or sugar in your tea, this Kenya Black becomes ultra smooth. I admit I enjoyed a cup or two that way myself. But for the purists, this Kenyan is equally good.
I recommend this tea for fans of Darjeelings, Ceylon (Sri Lankan) and Nepalese and Bangladeshi teas. Orthodox Assams, while even more difficult to find, are also a good barometer for whether you'll like this brew. And I think you will.