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. Satemwa 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.
The majority of the tea produced in Africa is black and since the introduction of the Rotovane machine in the 1930s most of that tea has been produced using the CTC (Cut, Tear, Curl) method. Only recently have the African tea producing countries, including Malawi, started to use the orthodox method of production. As such, it is extremely rare to find an African Oolong tea.
Satemwa Estate is fair trade certified. It is also certified by the Ethical Tea Partnership and the Rainforest Alliance.