It’s been a few months since I discovered Rwandan tea brand Tima Tea. The first in line for introducing is Rwandan Black Tea, a very good example of African terroir, beautiful in color and with a very interesting aftertaste.
What do we know about Rwandan tea? Not that much, I must admit if I am judging by myself. Although Rwandan tea is definitely not unknown, it usually isn’t the most popular or high quality tea. I was very excited when I found out about Time Tea and 3 Mountains, on a mission to bring Rwandan artisan loose leaf tea to the western market. We will explore this topic in more details in an upcoming tea interview with Sara Stender, the founder of Tima Tea. For now, let’s go back to our orthodox Rwandan black tea.
Leaves are quite pretty, broken and small, dark grey, matte with a reddish hue. There are a few reddish stalks scattered around. They have a very nice scent, fresh and a bit smokey that gets very deep and sweet in a heated teapot. It feels like Rwandan Black Tea had captured sun during drying process, and is now slowly releasing it with every sniff. Price is $10 for a pouch.
Rwandan Black Tea in a Pot
Brewing: 2.5 grams, 150 ml, 3, 5 minutes, 80 degrees Celsius
I like to follow the producers guidelines for brewing, although I usually do increase the amount of leaves or decrease the amount of water. This tea works very well with long steeping time. The next thing I really like about black tea is when you can actually see the color pouring into a cup. For me that represents a tea that really has something good to offer, like pouring all its essence waiting to be enjoyed.
Rwandan Black Tea has a very nice intense bright and thick orange color. It’s lightly sweet, quite full, but also very light in flavor. It’s not your average cup of black tea. It has a bit of Japanese black tea character mixed with Sri Lankan black teas, but with expressed African terroir. I wrote about that a few months ago when tasting Malawi teas from Satemwa. This tea is from a high altitude, with a lot of freshness and a bit of acidity. Ending is a bit mouth-drying, with a very nice honey-like aftertaste, and a feeling of light tingling on the tongue. After the first steep, leaves have a very deep and sweet, „meaty“ scent. This tea gives at least 2 great infusions, regardless of long steep times. Even the third one is quite enjoyable, although much lighter.
I wouldn’t really say this is a morning tea. It might be, on a hot sunny day when you need refreshment and awakening. However, I see it more as a dessert afternoon tea.