(Estate Black Tea)
Country of Origin: Malawi
Shipping Port: Durban
Grade: BP1 (Broken Pekoe One)
Altitude: 3000 feet above sea level
Manufacture Type: CTC (Cut Torn and Curled)
Cup Characteristics: A medium bodied cup of tea that is best enjoyed in the morning or after dinner.
Infusion: Bright, tending coppery.
Ingredients: Luxury black tea.
Chisunga is one of Malawi’s better-known teas. It is used quite
extensively by the large tea blenders the world over. It has a character
that tends to be somewhat malty but not overpowering. In tea tasting
and tea blenders jargon, Malawi’s (Malawi teas) are somewhat flavor
neutral with reddish color, tending to mimic a Kenyan and generally
slightly less expensive than a Kenya. Malawis are good for iced tea
blends since they give good color and tend not to make the iced tea
Malawi, one of the more interesting tea producing nations is a
landlocked country, bordered by Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and
Tanzania. The shortest distance to the sea from the center of landlocked
Malawi is due south through Mozambique to the port of Beira.
Regrettably this route is fraught with danger. Mozambique has a
considerable amount of guerrilla and anti-government activity
(regardless of which government is in power). In the past it was not
uncommon for rail lines and road links to be blown up or convoys
attacked. As such, all the products from and for Malawi now take the
following circuitous route. In the example of tea, it is trucked from
Blantyre through a 150 mile corridor of Zimbabwe and then south to
Johannesburg and finally by rail to the seaport at Durban, an overland
route that is 1500 miles long compared to the 150 miles direct from
Limbe to Beira. These problems were witnessed first hand during a trip
to Malawi in the late 1980’s. During a stay at a tea estate called Zoa
(on the border with Mozambique), there was a 6 hour battle taking place
between two factions (the battle took place just 3000 yards down the
road and across the river in Mozambique) -heavy caliber machine guns,
mortars and two airplanes all entered into the fray. According to the
estate owner –“Don’t worry this goes on quite often”.
Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling
boil. Place 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup into the teapot. Pour the
boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes
according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
Add milk and sugar to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of
tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly
boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving
pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher
straining the leaves. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water.
Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh
brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be
poured over ice and diluted with cold water].