September 10, 2009
We’ve been buying tea from Rwanda for several decades, so we’ve got a special connection with this incredible country. Rwandan tea has a certain liveliness about it and a really refreshing character – that’s what we love about it, and that’s why it’s such a vital part of our luxury blend, Yorkshire Gold.
This month, the well-respected glossy food mag Waitrose Food Illustrated published an article by writer Kevin Gould about his trip to Rwanda with Ian Brabbin, our Head of Tea. Together they toured the gardens that grow tea for us so Kevin could see firsthand the standards we achieve together.
Here are some excerpts from his article:
Rwanda: genocide, insane Hutu-Tsutsi identity politics, atrocities, bad news. This tiny, mountainous, Central African country has had all of these. But Rwanda also produces some of the world’s liveliest, loveliest, costliest black teas.
I’m with Ian Brabbin, head of tea for Taylors of Harrogate. Since 1973, this family firm has bought Rwandan teas, always paying top prices to secure the best teas from the very best gardens – it has also recently put funding in place for Rwandan tea to become certified by the Rainforest Alliance. We’re off to Gisovu, Rwanda’s top estate, whose finest leaf goes into Yorkshire Gold tea bags. Ian says, “Gisovu makes up at least 50% of this blend. It is wonderfully coppery, brisk and bright – like turning on the lights in your cup of tea!”
Up at Gisovu, tea bushes fill the lush horizon. Factory manager Emmanuel Matesu tells me that it’s now against Rwandan law to discriminate between tribes. “There is no more Hutu or Tsutsi,” he says. “We are all Rwandans now, and our country is super strong.”
Ian Brabbin is correct – Gisovu tea is like turning the lights on in your cup. It’s also a lovely metaphor of hope. So, next time you treat yourself to a pot of Yorkshire Gold, reflect on the fact that this brew comes from a beautiful, hope-filled place.
Waitrose Food Illustrated magazine is available from all Waitrose supermarkets, or you can visit their site to subscribe