A classic Kenya tea. Haunting full cup with body and superb malty flavor notes. An exceptional after-dinner tea!
Visit Tinderet on a bright sunny morning, the air thick with birdsong, a gentle breeze ruffling the lush sea of green and you may think you‟ve arrived in the mythological land of Shangri La. The estate, which sits at the foot of soaring Mt. Tinderet (2640 meters) on the edge of the vast Tinderet Forest, is without question one of the more visually stunning places on Earth. An approach toward the airstrip by Cessna on a clear day offers views of the wide Kano Plains and the shimmering Eastern shoreline of Lake Victoria. A visit of the grounds by jeep provides the chance to catch glimpses of rare and stunning tropical birds and butterflies. Afternoons on the estate are generally rainy, with flashes of lightening and low rumbles of thunder – the name Tinderet actually means place of lightening. (This appears to be a running theme in the world of tea. Darjeeling means the same thing!). As the rain tapers off, evening descends and with it, the calls of black and white casqued hornbills returning home to the forest can be heard floating above a breathtaking sunset. Tinderet‟s original planters certainly knew what they were doing when they chose its location.
Construction of the estate began in 1956 with the purchase and amalgamation of land that had previously been used to farm hemp and eucalyptus. In those days, before the advent of clonal technology, in which new tea bushes are grown from cuttings, gardens were cultivated from seed. As such, the gardens at Tinderet were planted with a seed variety flown up from Kiganga, Tanzania. The new plants flourished in the rich soil. The bushes were of such high quality that in 1961, the year the first leaf was processed in the new factory, Tinderet won “cups” (awards) at Kenya‟s Eldoret Agricultural Show.
Throughout its half century of production, the estate has consistently marketed an outstanding product. This superiority of production is due in part to the excellent treatment Tinderet affords its workers, a fact that has seen the estate gain endorsements from Fair Trade and the Ethical Tea Partnership, ETP. Like most high quality Kenyan teas, Tinderet produces a highly flavory, full-bodied cup, with a deep rich infusion. After brewing, the soaked leaf displays a reddish color that serves as a testament to the tea‟s freshness. Brew a pot today and savor the bounty of one of the tea world‟s great estates.