(Estate Black Tea)
Country of Origin: Rwanda
Cup Characteristics: A grainy broken Pekoe with a bright and lively liquor. Hints of malt macademia finish the cup.
Infusion: Golden coppery with light reddish highlights.
Ingredients: Luxury black tea.
Information: Comparable to a full-bodied Kenyan or Assam, Rukeri's cup is loaded with hints of malt, molasses and subtle wine with a delicate, pleasing astringency and full-bodied finish. A wonderful cup from an amazing estate, savor the finest of Rwanda today.
Rwanda is a land of soaring heat, blanketing humidity and rolling hills. So much ambient humidity that the country has two rainy seasons and is known as the lightening capital of the world. So many hills that in the local language, Kinyarwanda, it is called Igihugu cy'Imisozi Igihumbi, or the land of a thousand hills. If you think this sounds like the perfect conflation of factors for growing tea, you'd be right.
It was exactly that thought that led an American named Joe Wertheim to Rwanda to purchase Rukeri Estate in the mid 1970s.
The estate was first planted by Europeans back in the 60s and like the rest of the Rwandan tea industry at the time was modest in size. Over the years, as Wertheim and his company weathered the ups and downs of life in Rwanda, the estate grew and prospered. A good reason for this was the belief that growing tea was more than a way to make money for the company - it could help strengthen the Rwandan economy, and improve the lives and productivity of Rwandans themselves. Their vision spread throughout the industry to great effect - in 2002, with 15000 tons produced, tea became Rwanda's largest export and one of the largest employing sectors in the country.
The factory at Rukeri is a large local employer itself, providing jobs for about 400 people. These excellent practices have earned Rukeri a well-deserved Free Trade certification.