Teagirl is on another adventure. This time my journey takes me to far away Africa – specifically…Malawi. A small landlocked country towards the south-eastern corner of Africa. Why Malawi, teagirl? Because Tea is the second largest export for Malawi. Because Malawi represents about 3% of the world’s tea production. 3% may not seem like much….but consider this, Japan, which most of you think of as being central to the specialty tea market, makes up a poriton of 1% of the entire world production. That’s right, not even a whole percentage – a portion of 1%. So yes, we need to pay attention to some of these countries not on our radar producing beautiful teas.
There are a number of reasons I am here. And I hope you come on this journey with me. Because it’s a journey not only in understanding the value of tea from Malawi – beyond what it is being used for now…largely blending. But also in dissecting some of the challenges we face within the tea industry – empowering women, younger workers (18-34) and providing living wages for workers.
This journey started as all should, which is a taste of the beautiful country of which I am a guest for the next few days. A rocky drive up to the Zomba plateau – witnessing the majestic beauty of a country relatively small compared to some of its neighbours.
Malawi may not be rich by our modern measures of rich. But it is rich in so many more ways. It is rich in beauty. It is rich in history. And it is rich in the kindness of its people. It was the pioneers within the great African continent to start with tea, but it has today, many challenges facing it. Challenges, that many producing countries within the tea industry face.
Stay with me on this journey. Discover some of the beautiful flavours produced out of Africa. And I hope that along the way, together, we’ll try to muddle our way through the complexities that face this fragile labour market producing your beautiful cup of tea.