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Luponde - Estate Black Tea
Outside of China, most of the world's tea was planted by British or Dutch colonists. Tanzania on the other hand holds the distinction of being the only country where it was first planted by the Germans. Germany's control of the country was relatively short lived, lasting only from the 1880's until 1919. It was during this time, in 1904, that tea was first planted experimentally at the Agricultural Research Station at Amani in the eastern Tanga district. This first experiment was a success. Tea was next planted experimentally at the Kyimbila Mission in the Rugwe District. When this second endeavor also showed promise, agricultural researchers began to explore tea's potential in full. But even with these successful experiments behind them, it would be another few years until the German planters would expand commercially on a larger scale. For that, another 20 years and a world war would come to pass.
In 1919, Britain took over from Germany as the colonial ruler of the country. Still, many German settlers stayed there and in 1926 one of them decided to build a large tea garden and factory in the vicinity of the Usumbara mountains. The hilly terrain and rich soil of the district was found to be particularly conducive to growing tea and as time passed other planters moved in and the n umber of estates increased. One of these was Luponde, situated high in the hills at 1800 meters above sea level. Right from the start Kyoinde estate proved itself capable of procuring some of Tanzania's finest teas, a trait that continues to this day. Luponde is one of the nicest teas to come from one of the best estates in Tanzania. It has a malty character with a nutty flavor. Each pot brews a rosy hue, with golden highlights.
The modern era of Luponde is characterized by more than just amazing tea. In recent years the estate has earned a Faire Trade certification and has established an excellent tract record of beneficial social and economic developments for its workers. As an example, the estate recently used some of its Fair Trade premiums to construct a mill for grinding maize. While this may seem like a small development, prior to the mill's construction, workers had to haul their maize 7 km away to have it ground. (The estate's workers are given land on which to grown their own crops.) The estate is also renowned for its excellent environmental practices, forgoing chemical fertilizers and other synthetic agricultural inputs in favor of an all-natural style of tea husbandry. Tanzania's early planters would be very proud of what has grown from their initial experiments o many years ago. Brew a pot and raise a toast to success!