Majani Tea is part of a greater story. It’s not only a story about our product: organic and fair-trade teas. It is also the story of Ronald Mutai, Majani Tea’s founder. He connects Majani Tea drinkers to the tea they enjoy in a way only a few products can. His story begins in the same place that our tea does: Kenya.
Ronald was was born and raised on a tea farm in Meru that is exactly like the farms where we source Majani tea. Meru is on the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya.
Tea farms in Kenya fall typically into one of two types. There are growers on the West of the Rift Valley which are mostly large scale producers who originally set up their operation in the colonial days. These are still run by large multinational companies.
And then there are tea producers on the eastern side of the Rift Valley who are mostly small family farms, like Ronald’s family farm. Most of these small family farms are smaller than 5 acres and run the tea farms for a living.
Life on the farm has a methodical and rhythmic nature to it. Ronald’s family would get up everyday at 5am, except for Sunday. His father would start the morning picking the tea while his mother would get the kids ready for school. After her daily work within the house she joined his father in the fields. Some of the local tea farms also grow food crops or have livestock and the women of the homes would take care of these things as well.
When Ronald would return home from school, he and his brothers would usually join their dad on the farm and help take the crop to the buying center. His mom and sisters would get dinner going and finish their work around the house.
This may seem like a lot of work to some kids, but Ronald loved staying busy all day. He would come home to help out and then still had to find time to do homework. The days went by faster when he had all this work to do.
The farming culture of Meru has a special quality to it. There was a family-like manner in which everyone looked out for each other. Sometimes it seemed liked there were too many eyes on Ronald, but looking back on it now he appreciates the way people cared for and looked out for one another in the community. People in the community helped each other and made efforts to help others succeed.
Majani was founded to give back to the community that raised Ronald and helped him prepare for life away from home.
Every flavor of Majani Tea reminds Ronald of growing up on the farm. Kenyan teas have a distinct flavor and color to them. The black teas, especially the breakfast tea, turns red when brewed and the green teas lack the bitterness characteristic of other green teas.
As a result of the climate in which they are grown Kenyan teas are bolder in taste. The teas are grown right on the equator at very high altitude which gives them a longer period to grow and for the flavors to intensify. Thus the variety of teas you find in Kenya will be very different from elsewhere and have a unique taste and flavor.
When we drink Majani Teas, we are drinking a product that is not only from a place. It is product that is rooted in a story, a people, and a community.