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Uganda tea is a product of one of the best known agricultural export plants, Camellia sinensis. The first time that it grew in Uganda was in 1900 when the missionaries introduced it. By the mid-20th century, there was a big number of plantations that cultivated the produce on the large-scale. The country now ranks at number three of the continental producers. It has a production capacity of average ten thousand tons per year. Almost all the tea goes for sale outside the country which leaves just 10 percent for home consumption. As key produce for small-scale growers, it serves the per capita needs of families from diverse cool highlands. These include the West Rift, the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Lake Victoria region.
We source Uganda tea from various parts of the country, namely: Mukono, Masaka, Wakiso and Mityana on the Lake Victoria’s surrounding. There is also Kabarole district on the Ruwenzori ranges on the DRC border. Our other sources are Kibaale, Kanungu and Bushenyi districts all in the western parts. All our produce comes from farming environments that meet specific requirements including little or no use of pesticides. Our family growers also apply farmyard manure to grow their crop in patches of land less than two acres.
We use mainly women to harvest our Uganda tea by hand. The well-trained workers are able to pick the two main leaves and the bud selectively. These usually then undergo any of the main processing procedures, including the twist-and-curl process.
Soon after post-harvest routines, we take our tea to the factory for processing. We begin the procedure with withering or curing the leaves. At this stage, they are quite thick and sticky. We lay them into separate layers on plant-made mats under airy and humid conditions. After a few days, almost 50 –percent of the moisture in the leaves will have gone away.
The next stage for processing Uganda tea is that of bruising. This can mean different things, depending on the kind of tea under production: black tea, for example, may need crushing or cutting down into minor pieces if it is to be termed as bruised. Other milder products like white tea may require the direct twisting of the leaves. By bruising, we ensure that the foliage will be in the most uniform and smallest possible particles that can help make a consistent packed product. This step also exposes the leaves’ inner cells, which now become vulnerable to the forces of nature, as the next step below attests.
We follow up with the oxidation process, a very important step in the making of Uganda tea. This is where we again lay out the leaves to the sun so that they can turn the market color: brown. During this stage, we also use low controlled heat to expedite this ‘browning’ routine. For our green tea, we do not carry out the oxidation procedure so that the leaves will still be of the same color when they reach your destination.
We then go to the next procedure of processing which is heating. The high temperature that succeeds the mild heat of the preceding stage now actually stops oxidation. This means that no matter how further the leaves are left in the exterior they will not brown any more as the enzymes that let this happen will die at this stage. It is a procedure that we only apply to green but not black tea. Though the cut foliage loses its color, it still passes as green because it has not been oxidized. To create diverse flavors, we can decide to either boil, roast or fry the leaves, whichever way our customers like.
Finally, we dry the black and green teas. The most typical method in Uganda is curing in the sun. However, we also employ charcoal-based roasting which many acclaim as awarding the leaves a dramatically aromatic flavor. The drying not only extracts any unused moisture, but it prolongs the product’s shelf life.
We then pack Uganda tea in gunny bags of at least 50 kilograms. We also have small sachets that contain about 500 grams of the product in the same format as they appear in shops. We finish the packing process by labeling the packed product. We indicate the country of origin, the net weight, type (black, white or green tea) and the destination, among other qualities.
We store Uganda tea under cool, dry conditions, free of any light. We then keep the tea for a temporary period in our warehouse. We transport the bales in our controlled environment vehicles to the airport in Entebbe or by long-distance to the ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam.
We are therefore your go-to for everything to do with Uganda tea. We source our produce from family growers who have passed Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training and received certification. No matter your tonnage, we are dedicated to providing yearly service as we practically source from four major regions of the country. We also have pocket-friendly prices that suit your budget. Make an order today!
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