Kenya is the third largest producer of tea behind India and China. Kenyan tea originated in 1903 when the first Camellia Sinensis assamica were planted. However it wasn’t until the 1920’s that tea production really started in the country and today Kenyan tea is a $1 billion industry.
Tea production in Kenya is helped by the ideal conditions of climate, altitude and good rainfall in the growing regions. Tea growing in Kenya is situated on the highlands with altitude ranging from 4900 feet to 8850 feet. Lower altitudes in Kenya are far too hot for the tea plants to grow but vast plantations hug the mountainsides.
More than half the tea imported into Britain comes from Kenya, the majority of which arrives in blends used for tea bags. Kenya is starting to produce more orthodox teas that are picked by hand rather than machine – rather than the typical cut-tear-curl, machine processed leaves that are found in tea bags.
Kenya is predominately known for its black tea although some green tea and white teas are also produced when in demand. Some tea gardens are producing naturally organic tea where the elevation of the land means there are no pests and therefore no pesticides are used.