The Kenya Tea Development Agency will soon roll out orthodox tea in the country. The KTDA national chairman Peter Kanyago said two tea factories--Kangaita and Itumbe--have successfully conducted a pilot project of the orthodox tea.
He was speaking to journalists at Chinga Tea Factory in Othaya, Nyeri county on Saturday after meeting tea committees in the area to explain that they will not receive mini bonus this year due to the poor international market.
Orthodox teas are whole leaf teas manufactured using the traditional process.
Kenya has for many years manufactured the CTC teas, which are made through the Crush, Tear and Curl (CTC) process of manufacture producing a granular leaf particle.
Orthodox teas are generally bright and brisk and have a multilayered flavour profile. The orthodox grades are lighter than the granular CTC.
Because of the small particle size CTC teas brew quicker and make a full bodied gustier cup than Orthodox tea.
Orthodox teas on the other hand, depending on the processing, can bring out the more complex and subtle multi-layered flavours of loose leaf teas.
The grading of loose leaf teas hence can be more varied based on region, type of leaf twist, manufacturing process and even season of plucking.
"If you put it in the tea, the leaves just open. Many countries like Pakistan have been using this tea. This orthodox tea fetches high prices than the CTC tea. We will roll out this new type of tea by next year," Kanyago said.
He said the agency is targeting to make orthodox tea using about 60 million kilogrammes each year as its demand is high than that of CTC tea.
Kanyago said at least one factory, which has a capacity in every zone, will be used to manufacture the orthodox tea. He said KTDA is also targeting new markets in Far East countries like Indonesia and Malaysia.
Kanyago has asked the government to help KTDA subsidise fertilisers for farmerss.