Mount Kenya Black is an approachable tea with a classic black tea profile. It is grown on a small scale farm at the foot of Mount Kenya in Nyeri County at an altitude of approximately 2,000m. The smaller, finer leaves produce a flavoursome liquor with an easy-going and smooth character. This tea is from July 2021 harvest.
We source Mount Kenya Black from a specialist wholesaler who works directly with small scale farmers in Kenya. Like our Kenyan Tumoi teas, these are sourced by the wholesaler directly from the farmers, thus guaranteeing them a fair price for their processed tea.
A large proportion of tea plantations in Kenya are owned by multinational corporations, with many plantations buying fresh tea leaves from small scale farmers. Large plantations largely produce CTC tea destined for tea bags, blends and extracts. This mass produced tea is traded at the Mombasa auction, where the price is dictated by worldwide market conditions, much like for any other traded commodity. On average, tea workers in Kenya are paid under $5 for picking 35-45 kilograms of fresh leaves a day. Small scale farmers are very much at the mercy of the big plantations as to the price they are paid for their fresh tea leaves.
As a possible way out of this situation, some farmers in Kenya, just like in India and other countries, are switching to processing their own higher quality orthodox tea. This does mean that they are required to invest in their own machinery and equipment. Although sometimes they also have access to cooperative processing equipment that they can use to process their own teas. Our Kenyan wholesaler works directly with such small scale farmers and cooperatives, creating a platform for their products and supporting their efforts.
Mount Kenya Black is a BOP (broken orange pekoe) grade tea, having a smaller broken leaf. This does mean that the liquor produced is both stronger and bolder in flavour while also being more versatile. The flavour produced is a very classic black tea profile, akin to a good quality English Breakfast blend. The taste is smooth, with malty notes of stewed fruits. There is no bitterness but there are pleasant tannins evident in the taste. The aftertaste is long-lasting, mineral and stony.
It is best brewed at 90°C for 3-4 minutes. You can also brew this tea stronger by steeping it longer and using higher temperature water. In such cases it will take well to the addition of a drop of milk.
Mount Kenya Black tea was first featured in our August 2019 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.