Two more countries that are notable tea producers on the African continent are Mozambique and South Africa, with the island nation of Mauritius, off the continent’s east coast and directly across from Mozambique, being generally included in this category of teas.
In March 2012, Mozambique sold over 67,000 kilos of tea leaves at auction, a big increase from the almost 15,000 kilos they sold the year before. In early September 2012, a news items surfaced showing that Mozambique officials were meeting with key tea production stakeholders in India about a co-operative effort to improve their tea production. I could find no teas sold containing pure Mozambique tea, so it is probably all used in blends (teas labeled “black tea,” “African tea,” etc.).
South Africa is another matter. While known more for its other “tea” (Rooibos, or red bush), South Africa produces sizable quantities of true tea (from the Camellia Sinensis plant). One of the key tea companies is Tshivhase Tea Estates [Venteco (Pty) Ltd], wholly owned by the Tshivhase community of Vhembe, and managed by the Tshivhase Tribal Authority. The company grows, processes, and packages their teas locally, providing jobs to the population there.
Another South African tea comes from Ntingwe Tea Estates, marketed by Taylors of Harrogate in the UK as Kwazulu Tea and used in their Yorkshire Gold blend. Arnold Adhihetty, a senior buyer and blender at Taylor’s of Harrogate, considers this tea among the five best teas in the world.
Mauritius produces various teas, the most famous of which is appreciated for its vanilla taste, since the tea plants grow among vines from which vanilla is made. Tea is grown between October and May, peaking in December and January. Quality was generally improved about 10 years ago by implementing a change in pricing where better quality leaves received a higher price, instead of every grower receiving the same price. The growers had welcomed the change. The bulk of the tea is processed using the CTC method and is blended with other teas to add their coppery color, full flavor and rich body to lesser quality teas. The flavor and quality are said to be between teas from Malawi and Kenya. Since tea is grown in a small quantity and usually consumed locally, you will be hard-pressed to find it on the market, according to a Mauritius travel site. Look for their blue tea labeled “Bois Cheri” (“precious wood”) at the duty free shop in the Mauritius airport.
Hope you enjoyed reading this and the other articles about teas in Africa. They are certainly worth exploring!
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