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Kenya Zebra Sencha Green Tea
Kenya may be best known for coffee, such as the highly popular Kenya AA, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook their quickly growing tea culture. In recent years, Kenyan tea producers have taken to green tea production like a Grevy's Zebra to a watering hole. What do we mean by that? We’ll explain. Over the last 20 years or so, the population of the Grevy’s Zebra, also known as the Imperial Zebra, has dwindled to fewer than a couple thousand animals. Recently, conservationists in Kenya have begun working to help save the Zebras from extinction by protecting their natural habitat. This is to say, that in order for the Zebras to make it to a watering hole they’ve needed a little outside help. Likewise, Kenyan tea producers, in order to produce tea masterpieces like this Zebra Sencha have needed a little outside help in the form of an imported Japanese tea genus perfectly geared to Sencha production.
While planting foreign tea varieties in Kenya isn't a new phenomenon, (the Kenyan industry was in fact founded on tea bushes from India), producing premium Sencha is. So how did African Sencha come to be? For most of the 20th century, teas produced in Kenya were primarily black and CTC, (Cut Tear and Curl). The teas were, and still are prized for a rich, moody character that can fill out a commercial blend with aplomb, or be drunk straight up on their own. What made the teas so excellent were Kenya’s excellent husbandry techniques, climactic conditions and rich soil found east of Kenya’s Rift valley. In recent years, while demand for Kenyan black teas continues to grow, so too has worldwide demand for green teas as their exceptional health benefits became better understood. Kenyan growers, taking a page from the Vintner’s practice of planting old world wine varietals in new world vineyards, began looking to the far East for new teas and techniques that could be employed in Africa.
Our supplier determined that certain plots of Kosabei Estate shared similar ph levels to traditional Sencha plots in Shizuoka, Japan and decided to experiment. The broad-leafed bushes selected proved highly adaptable to the Kenyan soil and recently, the experiment began to pay off. Further employing the Japanese method of steaming the leaf before production, the final cup is bright with notes of grass, moss, honey and delicate seaweed. A magnificent tea development named after Kenya’s likewise magnificent animal.
This tea is ETP certified. The Ethical Tea Partnership is a tea industry initiative designed to monitor and regulate the living and working conditions on tea estates around the world. Metropolitan Tea was North America’s first signing member. Fair Trade certified. Fair Trade is an international movement that promotes increased standards of living for laborers in developing countries.