Malawi was the first country in Africa to grow tea on a commercial scale.  Tea was first planted in Malawi in 1878, but it wasn’t until 1891 that it became of any viable significance. The Satemwa Estate was founded in 1923 by a Scottish rubber planter by the name of Maclean Kay. The first tea seeds planted by Kay in 1926 were heirloom China varietals. In 1928 he introduced the first Camellia sinensis var. assamica seed from India.  This seed formed the basis of expansion until the 1960’s.  

Satemwa teas are made up of the two primary varieties: Camellia sinensis var. china and Camellia sinensis var. assamica as well as numerous Superior cultivars that have been bred by the Tea Research Foundation of Central Africa in Mulanje, Malawi.  These Superior Cultivars are bred for drought tolerance, cup characteristics and health benefits.  They have been shown to have higher levels of theanine, antioxidants and catechins than teas from other origins. Also, the growing conditions in Malawi are known to favor higher production of the gallated catechins.

The Satemwa Estate is fair trade certified. It is also certified by the Ethical Tea Partnership and the Rainforest Alliance.