During our time in Nandi, we often ate our meals together with the Katah family and Buddha, our tea expert from Darjeeling. The conversation most often consisted of stories from the well-travelled life of Buddha, or as he is known in some circles, “Uncle Tiger”, because he used to drive an old Peugeot with the Lion emblem. We heard stories of political turmoil in Bangladesh, making wine and cheese with Roman Catholic missionaries and the apparently common occurrence of accidentally cornering a leopard in a tea field?!
In Nandi, Paul and I would go for runs in the morning before it got too hot. On our runs, we encountered lots of people on the road and they usually looked at us “muzungus”, or white people, as if we were from another planet. I wonder if they felt embarrassed for us, as we jogged along the dirt trails crisscrossing the tea fields. There was often the added impetus to run a little faster due to a gang of 15 or 20 children running after us giggling and pointing. Many of Kenya’s competitive long distance runners actually come from Nandi Hills so we were confused about why our running was such a novelty. But I suppose we mzungus must look pretty silly, with our pasty arms and legs and our sweaty red faces.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve also been trying to sort out a new packaging for the tea you buy, a project to add more value to the tea, right here in Kenya. So there have been many phone calls to box manufacturers in Nairobi trying to explain exactly what we want. We spent many hours, even days, assembling prototypes and taking them apart and starting over again.
By the end of our time at the Katah tea garden, we successfully developed four different recipes for handcrafted Oolong, Green, Black and even the rare Purple Tea! Unfortunately, since returning from our trip, Boaz and his team have faced challenges with multiple equipment failures. We are investing in more reliable equipment so that we can share these new teas with you, hopefully before Christmas! For the time being, we do have a small batch of handcrafted Black tea that Boaz crafted for us with his team. Available only while supplies last, have a taste of our tea journey here: https://justea.com/product/handcrafted-kenyan-black-tea/ (no longer available!)