Updated: Mar. 16, 2015
A tea plantation in Kenya. Pphoto by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 and GNU FDL licenses.
Unlike India and Sri Lanka, where most tea is grown on large plantations, 90% of tea in Kenya is grown on farming operations of 1 acre or less. Tea is central to Kenya's economy; tea exports represent 26% of total export earnings and about 4% of GDP.
Tea farmers in Kenya have become strained due to competition; rather than move towards larger operations, Kenya has decided to invest money in research and development of new varieties of tea that have the potential to have higher yield and more resilience to variable climactic conditions.
Kenya's climate and tea production
Tea pickers in Kenya, photo by Ed Roberts, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 and GNU FDL licenses.
Kenya is bordered on the south by Tanzania, another important tea-producing country in Africa.
Artisan teas, specialty teas, and single-estate teas in KenyaEven though it is a major player in the global market, Kenya is less well known as a source of tea in the United States. Most of the tea produced in Kenya is bulk black tea used in blends. However, Kenya's specialty tea industry has been blossoming in recent years, and there are now green teas and white teas being produced in Kenya, including novel styles of tea such as white matcha. Kenya is also the site of development of new varietals of the tea plant, including purple tea, a tea plant rich in purple-colored anthocyanins, the same pigments in blueberries and raspberries.
References and further resources:
1. Michael Karanja, Kenya to research more on tea, Capital Business, Dec. 1, 2009.
Tea-Producing Regions of Kenya
Styles of Tea Produced in Kenya
This is a selection, not an exhaustive listing, of the styles of tea most commonly produced in Kenya.
Best Kenyan Teas
The notion of the "best" Kenyan teas is subjective, because different people have different tastes. We present the most often-rated and highest-rated teas produced in Kenya, and allow you to draw your own conclusions.