Brewing Hints: Infuse for three to four minutes in freshly boiled water
Leaf: Pekoe Fannings (Small Leaf)
Origin: Gisovu Estate, Rwanda
Characteristics: A bright golden coloured liquor with a distinctive, high quality flavour
Serving Suggestions: An excellent all-day tea
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£2.25 – £18.91
The quality of the tea grown in Rwanda is among the best in the world and our Rwandan Teas are excellent, possessing all the desirable qualities tea should have. We purchase our Rwanda Tea from the Gisovu tea estate.
Rwanda has a population circa 12 million and it is known for its beautiful verdant, mountainous landscapes. For many people their only experience of Rwanda is seeing the film Gorillas in the Mist with Sigourney Weaver and the dreadful genocide that happened there in 1994.
Living and farming in Rwanda (90% of the population are engaged mainly in subsistence agriculture) is not easy. Although the small-holder model suits the production of coffee and tea, farm sizes are decreasing. Most farms in Rwanda are smaller than 1 hectare (2.74 acres).
In 1989 Rwanda entered into a civil war between the Hutus (which were 85% of the population pre-genocide) and Tutsis (who stood at 14% of the population). After 5 years of bloody fighting, 1994 brought the horrific genocide which is ingrained in many people’s memories due to the horrific pictures and reports in the media. This genocide destroyed Rwanda’s ability to sustain itself and had two significant effects on the countries future. Namely, one, no-one wanted to invest in Rwanda and, two, the available workforce in the country was traumatised and impoverished.
In 1998 Rwanda’s Tutsi government in conjunction with humanitarian relief aid embarked on a privatisation programme of its core industries – these being tea and coffee. The driving factor being this was to reduce the countries dependence on subsistence farming. Tea plantations and tea factories were among the first of these to be privatised and by 2012 enough improvement works had been done with the tea industry for Rwanda’s tea estates Pfunda, Mata, Kitabi and Gisovu (these are Rwanda’s best of the best) to be offered for sale. The majority of these estates were bought by Rwandan owned companies. However, Gisovu and Pfunda Esates were purchased by our trusted trader McLeod Russel from whom we buy the majority of our Assam Tea and also some of the other African Teas that we use in our blends. In 2019 the Luxmi Tea Company, along with The Wood Foundation Africa became the owners of Gisovu and Pfunda Estates via their investment company – Silverback Tea Company. This has substantially boosted the incomes of thousands of smallholder tea companies by providing training and incentives to maximise both quality and yield. Increases of 7x yield per hectare have been gained with no noticeable decrease in leaf quality. Gisovu Estate covers a range of elevations with the highest being 8100ft above sea level, which make them some of the highest grown teas in the world. Gisovu Tea is also certified by the Rainforest Alliance and operates 100% pesticide free agricultural standard.
Gisovu Estate stars at 7500 feet above sea-level in the western province of Rwanda and is nearest to the Nyugwe Forest. Nyugwe Forest incidentally is also the source of the River Nile. The altitude, soil-types, temperatures and humidity gives Gisovu its exceptional characteristics. In 2012 it was judged to be the Best Tea in Africa at an African Tea Convention held in Kenya and the output of the Estate now stands at approximately 2300 tonnes of tea per year (including smallholder intake).