Surprisingly 2020 has been a relatively good year for Bente from Tanzanian Kilimanjaro Specialty Tea, so she had time to work on something new: tea from coffee leaves. “We created 9 blends with coffee leaf and tea leaf and even coffee flowers. For me as a coffee and tea farmer this is the natural consequence of what I am doing: create a fusion of the two.”
How do you look back on 2020?
I look back at 2020 as the Year of time to think and learn new things, take time to create new teas and make new tea friends all over the world but I am particularly proud that I have made some tea friends and new markets here in Africa. Especially Tanzania and Kenya but also Nigeria!
How hard was it in the tea business for your company?
It has been a good year quite surprisingly! Maybe because I had more time than I normally do. So I was able to spend more time on the tea creations and also talking to customers and IG ing of course. IG has really helped me to create awareness that Tanzania can actually produce high end speciality teas. I get such nice and encouraging feedback! I have some tea in Germany right now. We sold half of the airfreight in the first 3 days. Then came the Christmas stress and lockdown and DHL was not able to send parcels. So I stopped selling, but will resume from next week.
What do you expect business wise for 2021?
I have a huge order for teas from the Usambara Mountains. We purchase leaves from an Organic Tea Estate and then process it in our Tea Manufactury as our small tea garden cannot accommodate big orders. So I believe it will be a good year! I am anyway a positive thinker, though I have to admit that we are so lucky here in Tanzania with just a tiny bit of Covid and no restrictions. So it is considerably easier to be positive in such an environment and not locked down with no business perspective.
What are your plans tea wise for 2021?
I first have to fulfill my orders which will take up the first half of the Year! But we created tea from coffee leaves. So delicious and we created 9 blends with coffee leaf and tea leaf and even coffee flowers. For me as a coffee and tea farmer this is the natural consequence of what I am doing: create a fusion of the two. So that’s brand new and really exciting!
What will the trends be in tea for 2021?
To me it looks like Oolongs will be the trend, I get so many comments about my Oolongs. People seem very excited about it. What I do hope is that cold brew will become a trend. That will help tea businesses get over the summer, and it will also make tea more interesting for the younger generation. We really need to get the younger generation on board and that can only happen with new ideas and new brewing methods, different to what we traditionally do!