REGION 1: ABERDARE RANGES
Kambaa, Mataara , Kagwe, Theta, Ngere, Ikumbi, Ndarugu, Gachege, Njunu, Nduti, Makomboki, Gacharage
Located in Serine hills that rise and drop as if to the beat of a drum, the tea estates of the Aberdare ranges, stand at an altitude of 1700-2200 meters above sea level. The saying the higher you go the cooler it becomes stands true at the Aberdare tea estates. Reminiscent of mythical Elf country, the ranges are found 30km North West of Nairobi. This catchment is home to one of Kenya’s key belts, extending from Kiambu all the way to Nyeri, covering Thika and Murang’a tea zones.
REGION 2: ABERDARE RANGES
Githambo, Kanyenyaini, Kiru, Gatunguru, Chinga, Iriaini, Gitugi, Gathuthi, Ragati
The Aberdare forest is home to a wide variety of indigenous trees. They infuse their natural fragrance across the tea farms and blanket the tea bushes with their distinct scent. Grown in the dark and rich volcanic soils-that are well drained and which varying in depth from shallow to very deep-and the elements of weather to give a superior tea taste. A fusion of medium body, noble flavor and delicate tang, possessing a smooth round cup with golden-yellow to golden-reddish tinge. You cannot go wrong with a brew made with some of the finest two leaves and a bud this side of the equator.
Again, it was at this fabled, at the picturesque Tree Tops Lodge in Nyeri that Queen Elizabeth of England went up the tree lodge a princess and came down a Queen.
The majestic African Buffalo wanders in its natural splendor in the Aberdare forest.
REGION 3: MT. KENYA
Ndima, Kangaita, Mununga, Kimunye,Thumaita, Kathangariri, Mungania, Rukuriri
Tucked miles away from the bustling concrete jungle that is Nairobi, the tea estates are found deep within Meru, Embu and Kirinyaga counties. These tea gardens are located in the vicinity of Mt. Kenya, the country’s highest snowcapped mountain hence the name. The snow covered mountain provides a breath taking back drop to the tea estates especially in the morning. The Southern tea belt covers Kirinyaga and parts of Embu districts, while the Northern wing is home to the southern and central Meru tea belts as well as the adjoining parts of Embu at an altitude of 1500-2200 meters above the sea level.
The soils are volcanic and vary in depth and are composed of loan and clay. These soils combine with the well distributed rainfall and temperatures to support the growth of a tea bush that escalates to a distinctive tea palate with unique characteristics holding full cup depth.
REGION 4: MT.KENYA & NYAMBENE HILLS
Weru, Kinoro, Kionyo, Imenti, Githongo, Igembe, Michimikuru, Kiegoi
Although this area is known for its Khat growing, tea is its hidden gem. The Nyambene catchment covers the tea belt surrounding Nyambene Hills with tea growing at 1500-1950 meters above the sea level.
The ideal climate and the well drained, shallow to moderately deep, reddish brown clay loam soils associated with Nyambene ranges contribute to the optimal health of the tea bush culminating to an all round tea quality cup that is fabulously unique having a golden to yellow-ish tinge, full body, medium scent and noble flavor. Anyone visiting this range might be intrigued to know that the nearby Meru National Park is home to the white rhino and up to the North West in the Samburu National park is the home of ‘Kamunyak’ the worlds’ famous Oryx adopting lioness.
REGION 5: KERICHO HIGHLANDS
Toror, Tegat, Momul, Litein, Chelal, Kapkatet, Mogogosiek, Kobel ,Kapset, Rorok, Kapkoros, Tirgaga.
Located to the west of one of the Kenya’s most crucial water towers the mau forest complex, the well manicured tea farms of Kericho give rise to the awe inspiring green lush that is a site to behold. Kericho highlands tea catchment lies on the west side of the mau forest and extends to join the Kisii highlands further west. This catchment experiences a dual type of rainfall received throughout the year, it is ensconced between the mau forest and lake Victoria which is less than 100 km to the west.
Kericho highlands tea grows at 1500-2150 meters above sea level. The multihued nature of the taste of Kericho tea might be explained by the varied soil types which consist of well drained, shallow to extremely deep volcanic types. These factors combine to bring out the easy going vibrancy of Kericho highland teas. The tea possess unique characteristics, having a golden reddish tinge and a two range taste appeal combining medium pungency with mellow aroma and the other featuring full scent with a mild flavor, this teas offer a unique burst of experience with every sip.
REGION 6: KISII HIGHLANDS
Sanganyi, Tombe, Gianchore, Nyansiongo, Kebirigo, Nyankoba, Rianyamwamu,Itumbe Nyamache, Ogembo, Eberege. Kiamokama
Kisii county better known for its bananas and soap stone trade is also home to the Kisii highlands catchment. At 1500 to 2150 meters above sea level ,the catchment begins west of Kericho highlands and extends westwards close to lake Victoria, which is believed to be the source of the spectacular river Nile.
The full bodied traits of Kisii highland teas are a product of the environment in which it is nurtured. The widely spread highlands and the lake basin influence ,attracts plenty of rainfall combined with the relatively warm weather and mineral rich volcanic soils that infuse the tea buds with a spring of distinctive tea characteristics.
The wide variety of volcanic soils and the combination of inherent unique geographical features contributes to the distinctively subtle taste. Within the slopes of the Kisii highlands, are a variety of teas which possess copious amounts of eminently coppery rich bodied, deeply pungent and mildly flavored brews. Visit the Kisii highlands tea belt and feed yours eyes with the panoramic view and while you are it, make a point to sample the carving mastery of the Kisii soap stone artisans as well as the vibrant banana farming.
REGION 7: NANDI HILLS &WESTERN HIGHLANDS
Chebut, Kaptumo, Mudete, Kapsara,Olenguruone
It is often said that high tea is grown at Cherangany and a cup of Cherangany tea will leave one feeling like royalty at four 0’clock tea. Cherangany teas are fabulously unique in nature. They are the product of the mineral rich ‘red volcanic’ soils of Cherangany hills combined with the pristine climate and well distributed rainfall which contributes to a splendid unique cup color with a distinctive queenly flavour.
Growing at an altitude of 1500-2200 meters above sea level, in well drained, moderately deep, reddish brown loam soils and a weather pattern influenced by the hills and nearby Mt.Elgon. Cherangany teas are truly a robust blend. The tea cup has a golden hue, full body and pleasant scent tangled up in this quaint flavor.
Located on the western part of Kenya, along the equator and in the neighborhood of the equatorial Kakamega forest are the Nandi hills tea estates which stand at 1550-2200 meters above sea level.
Tea from this region is intense and exotically unique. Much like the inhabitants of the Nandi hills, the framed Nandi people are known as warriors from the days of old and have on a large part remained true to their traditional roots. Their warrior ways have endured and are evident on a world stage, The Nandi hills tea catchment is the home and birth place of the most of the record shattering Kenyan athletes!
The mineral rich drained, extremely deep red volcanic soils and well distributed rainfall blind with the amazingly warm weather, coupled with the distinctive features of indigenous forest to produce teas of splendid uniqueness. This gives them deep golden hue, rich body and mild flavor.
The Kakamega Forest catchment grows at an altitude range of 1600 to 2000 meters above sea level.The influence of the equatorial climate combined with the well drained, very deep volcanic soils and the warm weather pattern a geographic trait of low altitudes gives rise to a tea bush that gives a unique and complex brew of tea with distinctive liquor with a golden pink tinge, full body, full scent and subtle flavour visit to the pristine Mudete gardens will leave one refreshed and the Kakamega forest will be a definite treat after a tour of the well manicured exuberant green tea estates.