Country of Origin: Malawi, Africa
Shipping Port: Durban
Grade: BP1 (Broken Pekoe 1)
Altitude: 4000’ ft. above sea level.
Manufacture Type: CTC (Cut, tear, curl)
Cup Characteristics: A superbly well-rounded tea. Positively dripping
with expansive malty notes. Opens beautifully with a dash of milk.
Infusion: Light golden with copper highlights.
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
If all businesses were run with the social and environmental integrity
of Malawi’s Satemwa estate, the world would be a much nicer place to be.
The estate was first planted in 1923 by a Scotsman named Maclean
Cathcart Kay, and from the beginning has been operated with careful
consideration of the people who work there and the land it is situated
on. In recent years, management of Satemwa, which is still owned by
third generation Cathcart Kay family members, has undertaken a number of
initiatives that reaffirm their standing as upstanding corporate
The first of these notable initiatives was Satemwa’s achievement in
obtaining Fair Trade certification. For Satemwa’s management team, the
decision to go Fair Trade was a natural one. To begin with, the estate
has long believed in quality over quantity. Production focuses on
exceptionally high quality teas that fetch higher prices at auction with
higher profit margins. These high quality teas require skilled artisans
to produce them, meaning better, higher paying jobs are available and
the margins mean profits can be retained and distributed to workers at
all levels of the manufacturing process. As the result of its policies,
Satemwa became Malawi’s first Fair Trade certified estate.
(Interestingly, Satemwa, which rents rooms in its bungalows to tourists,
is a personal favorite of the President of Fair Trade.)
Another recent initiative has been active participation in the
reforestation of Malawi. Unknown to many in the West, Malawi has
suffered from massive deforestation over the past 2 decades. Between
1990 and 2000 alone, more than one fifth of Malawi’s forests
disappeared. Between 1998 and 2002, the 2000ha Thyolo Mountain Forest
Reserve adjacent to Satemwa estate was completely deforested, the result
of a local politician promising the land to locals during an election
campaign. The deforestation has had a massive impact on Malawi’s
ecosystem as silt from cleared land clogs rivers and biodiversity
plummets - 23 tree species are now considered endangered. To help combat
the problem, Satemwa has begun donating Eucalyptus seedlings, 3000 in
2007 alone, and undertaken a public campaign to educate people on the
importance of replanting.
If that were not enough, yet another of Satemwa’s ethical undertakings
is the provision of a weekly free “under 5” medical clinic. The clinic,
which is operated on estate grounds, is open to all children in the area
whether their parents work on the estate or not. To top everything off,
Satemwa’s tea output is in a word, outstanding – you can literally
taste the care that goes in to each and every cup. This BP1 is an
excellent example of the estate’s quality. Loaded with round notes of
malt, the cup is assertive with well-balanced layers of astringency and a
long, full finish. A super tea from one of the world’s best-run estates
– a cup to feel great about.
Satemwa is also ETP certified. The Ethical Tea Partnership is a tea
industry initiative designed to monitor and regulate the living and
working conditions on tea estates around the world.