This was my first African tea review. Tea from Malawi has a good reputation among loose-leaf tea drinkers as most of the tea is grown by artisan producers.
Malawi is the second-largest country in Africa (after Kenya) for tea production and has been growing tea since the 1880s. Tea has been historically the second export after tobacco. Still, in the last years, this has started to reverse due to the dropping value of the tobacco crop. This means more tea will be produced in Malawi in the coming years. In 1996 and EU-funded programme already tackled the low yield & quality issue of the tea plantations.
This tea was dried at high temperatures, and it has a toasty (almost like tobacco) aroma. Its taste reminded me of Ceylon blacks. This hand-twisted tea had a full-bodied flavour but very little sweetness, and despite brewing in Gongfu style, I also got some astringency. I found that the description of this tea included ‘olive notes’, I did not get this at all and it was the first time I have heard olive associated with a tea. When I brew this tea next time, I will pay more attention to the tasting profile.
Overall, a humble tea from Malawi. I can see how this tea compares with famous Ceylon blacks. Thanks to my dear friend Sharon, I have other Malawi teas to review, including oolong, pu-erh and white tea. Stay tuned!
Harvest time: 2019
Leaf colour: Shades of dark brown
Liquor colour: Amber
Tea aroma: Toasty and malt
Tea taste: Full-bodied with maltiness and tobacco notes
Steeping/brewing: Steep about 4 gr of leaves in around 95°C water and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves only a few times until the taste disappear.
Shelf life: Up to 3 years (the freshest the better)