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Monday, 5 February 2018

Sorwathe – tea with soul made in Rwanda



It is a thing I noted, well beyond the road one takes to get to Kinihira, left at the first junction after Byumba, which should definitely be better marked. It is the way in which employees interact and work together, just like in a big family.
Again, well beyond the beautiful views of the hillsides included in Sorwathe estate or even the lovely guesthouse and all those firsts dealing with conservation and child protection issues that are displayed in the courtyard, a tour of the factory is a filling experience!

You’ve got your protection equipment, your curiosity at rising levels, and you go through all the stages necessary for you to sip your tea in a tranquil setting. You even go through tests to decide which plucks observe the quality standards and which don’t. And then you find out how oxidation and its lack give rise to the black tea and green tea varieties. There is so much laughter involved, that it practically becomes the norm of the morning and you keep asking those smart questions because your host apparently enjoys the interest shown.

There is not only one factory to see, but two! I adapted pretty fast to doors opening and closing, steps to climb, and to the differences in temperature of various stages. Your senses are heightened: you see, you hear, you smell, you taste.
After looking at those big bags prepared for export, you realise how small a quantity you’ll be taking home, in your backpack. The tasting at the end sums it all up and I realised that I had a thing for orangeish-feel Orthodox tea and the exquisite specialty mountain black tea, possibly the finest tea I have ever tasted.

Marcel and I had a wonderful time, found the tour to be interactive and hugged our host goodbye. We then took a long look at the tea pluckers working inside the factory premises. It all starts with their hands, baskets, and dedication. And ends up steaming in your favourite colourful cup.
      

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