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Tea In Malawi

A recent program of clonal replanting has led to an improvement in quality.

Malawi is Africa's second most important tea producer after Kenya .The first tea was introduced, to what was then Nyasaland, as seed from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1878. Around the turn of the century, plantations were laid out at Lauderdale,Thornswood, and Thyolo with seed from Natal which had come originally from Ceylon.

The first tea was exported in 1905, and although the early production was not of particularly good quality, the industry thrived and, by the mid-1950s, more than 12,355 acres had been planted. Most of the tea areas are situated at low altitudes—the average in Mulanje district being just 1,800 feet above sea-level—and the unpredictable rainfall patterns and high temperatures are not ideal for tea. In 1966, the Tea Research Foundation (Central Africa) was established, essentially because of the distinct environment in which tea is grown in this region. In 1992, severe drought and uneven rainfall distribution following low rainfall in 1990 and 1991, badly affected the tea crop. Even in the best years planters can never be sure what the weather will do. They always hope that dry conditions will not adversely affect the bushes, but in 1992, with the low rainfall and above-normal temperatures, new plants shriveled and died, the flush was mediocre, and established bushes suffered long-term damage. By 1994,however, crops had recovered and average annual production is 44,092.4 tons.

Most Malawi teas are used as "filler" teas in blending, but a recent program of clonal tea breeding and replanting has led to an improvement in quality and an increase in prices across the board.

Namingomba
Characteristics: Good quality, pure clonal tea. Bright liquor with good color and full-bodied flavor
Brewing hints: Brew I teaspoon in a scant I cup water at 203°F. Infuse for 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: Drink with milk at all times of the day, especially in the morning.

Kavuzi
Characteristics: Small leaf LTP (similar to CTC) tea produced in the north of Malawi. Gives a strong full-colored tea.
Brewing hints: Brew I teaspoon in a scant I cup water at 203°F.Infuse for 3 minutes.
Drinking recommendations: A good breakfast tea. drink with milk.

Recommend our Vintage Tea Sets to brew these teas.