Chisunga Estate CTC (2 oz loose leaf)
This CTC from Malawi is not as malty as the Kenyan CTC teas but just as stout. It stands up well to milk and sugar and is one that I have mixed with almond milk and it was really good. Do not be misled. Just because this doesn't come from Kenya, it is easy to oversteep if you aren't paying attention. The vendor suggested steeping 3 to 7 minutes. I personally steep it for less than 1 minutes to bring out the flavor of the tea without the bitterness. 2 minutes makes it bitter...trust me!
The Chisunga Estate is a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership.
2 oz loose leaf packaged in a resealable pouch
Ingredients: 100% Black Tea
More information from the Vendor:
Malawi's history as a tea producing region has been a bit dicey to say the least. The problems however weren‟t the result of poor production methods or failure on the part of planters and freehold tea farmers. In fact, Malawi's tea issues didn't even come from within Malawi but from geography, namely proximity to the civil war that ravaged neighboring Mozambique from 1975–1992.
The basic problem came from the fact that Malawi is a landlocked country entirely surrounded by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. The nearest port for Malawi's teas was the port of Beira, Mozambique, 150 miles from Malawi. During the war, shelling of the roads and railways leading to the port was common and shipping convoys were frequently attacked. As a result, Malawi's tea manufacturers had incredible difficulty getting their product to market. A solution had to be found – and here as well geography posed a problem. Tea shipments had to follow a serpentine route that was a full 10 times longer than the previous one. The tea was shipped by truck from the city of Blantyre, Malawi‟s commercial hub, 150 miles through neighboring Zimbabwe, then southward to Johannesburg South Africa where it was transferred to rail and shipped to the port at Durban.
The shipment problem out of the way, the Malawian tea gardens‟ closeness to the Mozambican border and subsequent militant skirmishes posed further hazard. Our Master Taster witnessed this first hand during the 1980s while visiting Zoa estate, situated right on the border. While there, a 6 hour battle raged 3000 yards across the river in Mozambique. The fighting was intense with heavy caliber machine guns rattling back and forth and military jets circling overhead. Interestingly, the estate manager brushed the incident off saying, “Don‟t worry, this happens quite often”. Clearly it took fortitude to grow tea in Malawi. Thankfully, with the close of the war, things returned more or less back to normal.
The efforts of the planters to keep the industry afloat during those turbulent years have paid off. Today, Malawi's tea industry provides jobs and a sustainable income for hundreds of thousands of Malawians and their families. The teas they produce are generally thought to be quite good by professional tasters with a handful of examples considered outstanding. Chisunga Estate falls into this category. Chisunga's cup tends malty, but not overpowering with a pleasing mouth-feel and light astringency. The liquor is a medium red, looking very similar to the top Kenyans. A wonderful cup with an incredible legacy.