Monthly Archives: January 2012

Process Of Sourcing Teas For Majani Teas – Step 1

We at Majani Teas strive to bring you the best Kenyan teas that are out there. We go to small scale tea farms like this one here to buy our teas. From the more than half a million family farms we have selected the most experienced of them.

A good tea farmer in Kenya strictly follows the time honored tradition of developing a ‘table’ on his farm. A ‘table’ is when a farmer prunes/cuts his bushes to reach waist length and trains his bushes to grow in a fashion that looks like a table or field if viewed from above, hence the name. Most people ask me, “how do you walk in between the tea bushes?”

Most farmers know how to walk and dress for circumventing the narrow space in between the bushes. This practice is encouraged because it cuts off all light to the bottom. It is the same phenomena in rain forest canopies. In this way, no weeds get to grow in between or on the bottom of the bushes since photosynthesis is not possible in the dark.

What does this mean for the farmer, consumers and Majani Teas?

Producing teas in this way means that farmers do not have to spend money buying herbicides or expensive chemicals to eradicate weeds. Plants that would transmit fungal diseases do not grow and that way we at Majani are able to source completely organic teas.

Obviously, we are lucky too that the altitude is too high for most bugs to survive and therefore no need to protect the plants from bugs, mites, or other creatures that would be interested in making lunch out of the tea bushes.

We at Majani appreciate this practice that Kenyan farmers have adopted for generations and are always ready to explain when visitors ask how come our tea farms look like playing fields and lack the lines/rows you notice in tea farms elsewhere.

Now you know why you should enjoy Majani Teas knowing that the product is just as good as nature intented and products like these are what human being were and should enjoy to stay healthy!!

Majani Black Tea Shortbread

A good full bodied Majani black tea will impart a wonderful subtle nuttiness with just a hint of malt to the shortbread. 

1        lb unsalted butter

1        cup sugar

4        cups AP flour

2        teaspoons bourbon

4        teaspoons finely ground Kenyan black tea



Cream together cold butter and sugar.   Grind tea in spice grinder until fine but not powdered.  You want some texture left to it.  Add flour, salt, tea and bourbon.  Mix until just pulls together.  Roll out to 1/4” thick and chill.  Cut and bake on parchment or oiled sheetpan at 250 degrees for around 45 minutes.


For a fun change of pace try adding  finely chopped chocolate or a pinch of ground clove or cardamom.


Reduce the sugar by half for a more savory shortbread.  This works very nicely paired for instance with a wedge of blue cheese, some lightly dressed greens and roasted figs.


Recipe by Cynthia Gold – Tea Sommelier at  L’Espalier and Author of Culinary Tea: More than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from around the World.

Majani Tea Brined Pork Loin

Serve with roasted garlic sweet potatoes and a green salad.


1 Pork Loin


Majani Tea Brine


8 cups water

1 cup coarse kosher salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 cinnamon sticks

1/3 cup star anise or 1/8 cup anise seed

2 T whole Allspice

4 Bay leaves

Zest from 1/4 orange


.5 cups tea leaves, note, measurement is for full leaf Majani orthodox, if using CTC or fannings, reduce to .25 cup or less

10 cups water to steep tea


If Roasting:

1/2 cup mustard

3 garlic cloves

fresh ground pepper, 10 turns


If Smoking:

1 cup raw white rice

2 cinnamon sticks

zest from  1/4 orange

cracked black pepper corns

1/2 cup brown sugar


Heat 8 cups water with salt, sugar and spices.  Bring to boil and turn off.  Let cool.  Add zest.  Bring 10 cups water to boil and steep the 1 cup of tea leaves for 5 minutes.  Strain, putting the tea leaves aside if you will be smoking with them later.  Cool.  Combine.


When mixture is room temperature, pour over pork loin.  If brining a full loin you may need to cut it in half if you don’t have a container where you can fully submerge the pork in the brine.  Refrigerate, keeping pork submerged for 24 to 36 hours.  Remove from brine and rinse.


When ready to cook, consider roasting or smoking.


To Roast:  preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine mustard, finely chopped garlic and pepper.  Score the side of the pork loin that has a covering of fat.  Rub with mustard mixture.  Place in shallow roasting pan.  Cook for 12 minutes in 450 degree oven.  Turn down to 350 and continue cooking until done, around 140 degrees.


To Smoke you may want to consider roasting the loin and finishing with a short smoke in a smoker, wok, or using the hotel pan method.  Alternatively, grilling with smoking with give a wonderful result.  Either way, combine the reserved cup of tea leaves with one cup of raw white rice, orange zest, cinnamon stick, cracked black pepper and sugar.  Place this mixture in the bottom of a heavily foil lined (multiple layers of foil) wok or hotel pan.  Turn heat up (under the hood) until the mixture begins to smoke.  Place in rack and pork.  Cover with foil and then wok lid or sheetpan.  If you are smoking without precooking, you will need to replace the smoking mixture after 15 minutes, so have additional mixture in the same proportions ready.  If you have roasted or grilled and are just finishing with the tea smoke, one 15 minute run should give you a very nice result.



Recipe by Cynthia Gold – Tea Sommelier at L’Espalier and Author of Culinary Tea: More than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from around the World.

Spiced Orange And Majani Tea Roasted Pork Tenderloin Served With Mango, Peach And Habanera Salsa On A Bed Of Wilted Greens.

2 pork tenderloins, roughly one lb each, cleaned of excess fat and silver skin.

4 Tablespoons of  ‘Keyan Tea Spice Rub’

Orange juice, preferably fresh squeezed, roughly 2 cups

1 Roasting Pan, not aluminum or other reactive metal.  Glass or stainless steel will work well.


Preheat still oven to 375 degrees, convection oven to 325.


Rub the pork tenderloins with the ‘Majani Tea Spice Rub’ and let sit, well covered, in the refrigerator over night.  Remove from the refrigerator and place in a roasting pan, as small a pan as your tenderloins will fit in without crowding.  Pour orange juice (preferably fresh squeezed) in the pan to 1/3 of the way up the sides of the tenderloins.

Roast in preheated oven until desired doneness, preferably pink.  Baste often.  May be served hot or room temperature.



1 medium sized mango, still fairly firm

1 large or 2 medium sized peaches, still fairly firm

Brown sugar

1 medium red bell pepper

1 small habanera pepper, or less.  If unavailable replace with a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

1 small red onion

2  limes

1/2 orange

1 Tablespoon freshly chopped herbs.

A blend of cilantro, basil and Italian parsley works well, but feel free to vary.

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon of ‘Tea Spice Rub’


Peel and 1/4 inch dice 1 medium sized mango and 1 or 2 peaches.  You want them to be firm enough that you can cleanly dice them.  Wash, seed and dice the peppers.  Be sure to wear rubber gloves when you work with the habanera pepper and DO NOT RUB YOUR EYES.   Chop the habanera as small as you can, dice the red pepper to 1/4 inch dice.  Peel and dice the red pepper to about 1/8 inch dice.  Toss all together.  Squeeze in the juice of 2 limes and 1/2 orange.  Sprinkle in the tea spice rub, fresh herbs and additional salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well.  Adjust by taste.  Chill until ready to serve.


Recipe by Cynthia Gold – Tea Sommelier at L’Espalier and Author of Culinary Tea: More than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from around the World.

11 Spice Majani Tea Rub

This is a versatile combination that is handy to keep available in your cabinet.  It is very nice rubbed on chicken, pork, beef and game for grilling or roasting.   It can also be used as a spice blend added to braising liquids, chutneys, you name it.


5 T finely ground Majani black tea

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

2 t ground cinnamon

1 t curry powder

1 t ground cumin

1 t crushed red pepper flakes or crushed Szechwan peppercorns

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1 t freshly ground black pepper

1/2 t ground star anise or anise seed

1/2 t ground clove

1/2 t crushed fennel seed

1/2 t ground ginger

1/2 t ground mace



Combine all ingredients, mix well until homogeneous.  Store in tightly sealed jar or tin at room temperature.


Recipe by Cynthia Gold – Tea Sommelier at L’Espalier and Author of Culinary Tea: More than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from around the World.

Seared Majani Tea Rubbed Tuna

Combine in spice grinder:


6 T Majani full leaf tea or 3T CTC or fannings

1 T Chinese 5 Spice Powder

1/2 t coriander seeds

1/2 t black peppercorns

1/2 t kosher salt

1 T brown sugar


Cut tuna into strips such that when sliced thinly on a diagonal the resulting slice will be the desired portion size for presentation.

Oil tuna lightly and dip in rub.  Set aside to form a crust.  Sear quickly on each side leaving rare in the center.


Serve with a ginger/soy dipping sauce.


Recipe by Cynthia Gold – Tea Sommelier at L’Espalier and Author of Culinary Tea: More than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from around the World.

Bacon, Sage And Majani Tea Savory Scone

20 cups AP Flour

1 cup baking powder

1/4 cup coarsely ground Majani tea

5 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons sugar


25 oz butter

60 oz buttermilk


crumbled cooked bacon or chopped ham

chopped sage or scallions (if using scallions, switch to a milder tea)

cracked pepper


With paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, tea and cracked black pepper on low.  Gradually add cubed butter until crumbly, about the size of peas.


Add crumbled bacon and sage (or scallions) and most of the buttermilk just barely mixing to incorporate.  Add remaining buttermilk if dry.  Be careful not to overwork,  Form and chill or freeze.


Back thawed at 375 low fan until baked through


Recipe by Cynthia Gold – Tea Sommelier at L’Espalier and Author of Culinary Tea: More than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from around the World.

Balsamic And Majani Tea Caramelized Onions

3          medium onions, thinly sliced may be red, white or a blend

2          tablespoons olive oil

1/4       cup Brown sugar

1          tablespoon full bodied black Kenyan tea leaves

1          tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Steep 1 tablespoon of full bodied black tea in ¾ cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.  Strain and set aside.  Thinly slice red and white onions.  Cook over low heat in a small amount of oil until soft.  Turn heat up to medium high and sprinkle in brown sugar.  Cook until begins to color.  Optionally add a touch of ginger or 5-spice powder.  Add large splash of balsamic vinegar and the prepared 3x strength black tea and continue on medium a few minutes more, stirring constantly.  Season with salt to taste.


Recipe by Cynthia Gold – Tea Sommelier at L’Espalier and Author of Culinary Tea: More than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from around the World.