Continuing my tea tasting journey through the African continent, my next stop is at the Kangaita Tea Factory, in the southern slopes of Mount Kenya. I have ten samples of various green, black, and purple teas from this factory. The samples were provided by Dafina Tea Traders, based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kangaita Tea Factory sits on the equator, with coordinates of 0.5°S and 37.3°E. The altitude of the tea estates in the Mount Kenya growing region ranges from 4,500 feet to 6,600 feet (1,500 to 2,200 meters) above sea level. Beyond the tea fields, the peaks of Mount Kenya are visible. Mount Kenya is also the largest tea producing zone in the country.
Despite the fact that I am very interested in trying one of the purple tea samples, I decided to start with the Flowery Pekoe green tea. A sweet, floral smell is rising out of the sample packet. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves display forest green to dark green colors. The leaves appear to be medium to large fragments, and are rolled. There are a few bare twigs and stems in the mix. The aroma is sweet (dried fruit) and floral.
Five grams of leaves were placed in an 8.5 ounce (240 ml) kyusu teapot. Filtered tap water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a light pale yellow color and a very light green tint. The aroma is sweet, herbacious, and floral. The body is light-medium, with a very smooth, velvety texture. The taste is very pleasant and refreshing, with notes of sweet grass, flowers, and a delicate fruity hint. There is also a noticeable mineral (wet stone) taste and feel, and a mild astringency. The aftertaste is floral and lightly sweet, with a pleasant floral essence left on the breathe. This tea has a very nice balance of flavors.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a bolder shade of pale-yellow color and a light green to gold tint. The aroma remains sweet and floral. The body feels medium, and the texture is not quite as velvety, but instead is smooth and refreshing. The taste has strengthened in the sweet grass flavor, and the floral, delicately fruity, and mineral notes all remain. Overall, this second infusion was stronger than the first.
The third infusion produced a brighter shade of pale-yellow color than the third infusion, with more of a green tint than gold. The aroma has lightened, but remains a pleasantly delicate sweet and floral experience. The body has lightened back to light-medium. The taste has also lightened, and the notes of floral and wet stones are most dominant. The aftertaste remains floral and enjoyable. Although lighter, this is still a worthy infusion.
The infused leaves have a uniform forest green color. The leaves are all medium to large fragments, with some bare stems and twigs in the mix. A few of the stems show a two leaf and small bud pluck. The leaves have a fresh, floral, and lightly sweet aroma that is remarkably fragrant.
This is a very easy to drink green tea. There is one other green tea from Sri Lanka that I can describe as a good everyday green tea, but this Flowery Pekoe from Kangaita will now join this list. It is delicate and refreshing, yet potent enough in flavor to be very satisfying. Thankfully these sample packets are rather generous, because I can imagine this will make an extremely refreshing cold tea that will quench a thirst like few beverages can once the spring and summer months arrive. Other than a generally unimpressive appearance, this tea was a great experience, and a great introduction to the orthodox green teas of Kenya.
Thank you to Dafina Tea Traders for providing these generous samples. I am looking forward to hitting the purple teas next. Cheers!