- Satemwa Estate Background
- Bvumbwe Black Preparation
Grown high on Thyolo Mountain in the Shire Highlands of Malawi, our Bvumbwe Handmade Treasure is lovingly crafted by hand so as to preserve the long, sturdy leaves and their complex flavors. This is a more lightly oxidized tea when compared to other black teas, resulting in a softer, smoother liquor with a subtle, sweet fragrance. The dry leaf evokes the shape of the horn of the rare nyala antelope accented in a Maravi gold color. ("Maravi" is the name of the tribe that inhabited the region covering Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia from the 16th to 19th centuries. The word means "fire flames." ) The brewed cup has the aroma of sweet orange blossom and honey with the taste of orangette, the Belgian orange sweet dipped in dark chocolate, and a hint of maltiness. To achieve the right flavor profile Bvumbwe Handmade Treasure is only plucked the day after a period of abundant sunshine. The profile expresses a true "high grown" character.
Bvumbwe Handmade Treasure is crafted from the Bvumbwe cultivar, a Superior cultivar 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.
Ingredients: Artisan black tea
Origin: Satemwa Estate, Malawi
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 Estate is the last remaining of the original founding tea estates that led to the creation of a successful tea industry in Malawi. The knowledge of the terroir and tea processing techniques that have been passed down the generations of both the Kay family and employees have led to distinctive and celebrated teas being created at Satemwa the like of which cannot be matched by any other estate in the region.
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. As part of Satemwa's social responsibility program, they provide a number of welfare services, which are available to both staff and their immediate dependants. The Satemwa Clinic provides professional medical services to all employees, and their immediate families and to all students at the Satemwa Primary School. There is a 3 bed antenatal facility and an under 5 clinic on Mondays that is accessible to all the communities on and around Satemwa. A 24hour ambulance service funded by the company takes any referrals to hospitals within the district of Thyolo. The Satemwa Primary School seats +/- 900 pupils. Education is provided in partnership with government who provide the teachers, learning materials and curriculum, whilst Satemwa provides land, buildings and other structural needs such as teachers housing. This year, Satemwa sent 19 pupils to various secondary schools. Satemwa also supports divisional sporting activities which give workers a breather after a week's hard work in the fields. Divisions play competitive soccer with other divisions and estates.
Satemwa is happy to be in close interaction with nature and work closely with their staff in a CSR (Corporate and Social Responsibility) program to protect the nearby forest and wildlife. Satemwa also works with sustainable wood and stoves that conserve firewood to dry the tea and are developing different solar and energy saving initiatives for the processing of their teas.
Water Temperature: Just off the Boil (205 degrees)
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 1-2 Tbl.(3-5 grams)
Steep Time: 1-3 minutes
Number of Infusions: 2-3
When measuring it is best to weigh your tea. (I use a small pocket scale. We have a few or you can get good inexpensive scales at Old Will Knotts) Measuring volume with a teaspoon or tablespoon is not accurate because whole leaf teas take up much more space than broken, graded teas.
We highly recommend brewing your tea in a teapot or mug with a removable infuser so that you can remove the leaves at the end of the steeping time. Whole leaf teas of this quality need room to unfurl and expand in the water in order to perform their "magic." However, leaving the tea leaves in the water will result in an over-infused, bitter (or at best, unpleasant) tea. If you want a stronger cup of tea increase the amount of leaf rather than the steeping time. If you don't have a removable infuser, you can brew the loose leaves directly in the pot. At the end of the steeping time, pour all of the tea into a warm serving pitcher or pot.
While many black teas are frequently served with milk & sugar, we strongly recommend NOT doing so with this excellent tea! In doing so you will miss out on the subtle nuances that make this such a wonderful tea!