Most people don’t know it, but Kenya is actually the largest exporter of Black Tea in the world! There are over half-a-million small-scale Kenyan tea farmers. Unfortunately, when these farmers harvest their tea leaves, their only option is to sell them at a low price to large-scale factories. We first learned of this farmer hardship on our initial trip to Kenya in 2012. We spent a week with Davison and Grace on their one-acre “shamba” and heard from them and their neighbours that they were going to have to uproot their tea bushes because their tea earnings did not provide them with basic family needs – food, water, sanitation, and education.
After many trips to Kenya, meeting with farmers, researching the tea industry, and consulting with NGOs on the ground, we knew there could be a different experience for Kenyan tea farmers and tea drinkers around the world. Since 2012, we have partnered with the Katah family and the Nandi Hills community to establish Kenya’s first-ever “Artisanal Tea Cottage Factory” owned and managed by small-scale tea farmers! We are leading the research and processing of new Kenyan teas (like Purple Tea!) but more importantly we are paying fair-prices for farmers tea leaves and creating steady employment where there wasn’t any before.