In quality tea you need to know the origin and the skills of the maker.
We have found the best tea farmers that share our view that tea producing should have a positive impact on the nature and people working with tea. All teas are made without pesticides.
Their main objective is to support
the disappearing art of making Orthodox (highest quality) tea
workers' well-being (e.g. well above average salary, social responsibility and great working and living conditions)
sustainable farming, protecting the environment and animals
We only buy directly from small farms and want to build a lasting relationship, giving them the attention and respect they deserve. We have a small-holder's cooperation in Malawi and a small farm in Nilgiri Mountains, India, as our partners.
Our farmers are doing so much more than any certificate out there, because for them social and environmental responsibility is given and they are willing to make an extra effort in order for everyone and everything to thrive.
The farmers sell the tea for the price they need, unlike as it normally goes: the price is set by buyers in huge auctions where it's highly likely that the price doesn't even cover the farmer's expenses.
Read more about their fantastic work below.
Single origin fair trade tea from Malawi
Owner: Family owned cooperative since 1923. Current owner grandson Alexander Kay.
Location: Thyolo Highlands, Malawi. 1003m above sea level
Farm size: 0,5 ha per small farmer
Quality: Orthodox tea, whole leaves, pesticide-free, Fair Trade
This estate is the only one in Malawi producing Orthodox teas, as most farms have been purchased by large companies looking to produce mass-produced tea.
These teas are produced by passionate small farmers and all tea is picked by hand. This tea is made with love, passion and craftsmanship, as dedication and expertise for tea making is passed on over several generations.
The sole purpose of the farmers is to make a difference in the tea industry. These quality-conscious tea farmers are the lifeblood in the battle for better quality in tea and better living conditions, fair pay, better health and sustainability in otherwise bulk-reigned Malawi. The family-owned estate educates small farmers in producing better quality tea, and they their own school and health clinic. The farm has a Fair Trade certification, and The Seventh Cup pays them about 5 times more than what the Fair Trade extra normally is, just to support them to continue their awesome work.
The estate helps preventing climate change, for example by using energy saving machines, solar panels and by planting trees. The estate has increased its natural areas in order to maintain an ecological balance by cultivating a wide range of trees, shrubs and flowers, and protecting wildlife corridors.
The estate has three main objectives that are guiding them, and one of these is gender equality. In 1935, Mclean Kay (the founder) was the first tea grower in Malawi to employ women. The second goal is to mitigate climate change and work towards a sustainable environment. Their third goal is to sign up for the UN Global Compact and establish direct trade partnerships.
Single estate tea from Nilgiri
Owner: Murali Subramanian
Location: Nilgiri Mountains, India. 2000m above sea level
Farm size: 2 ha
Quality: Orthodox tea, whole leaves, Indian organic farming certificate
This small single estate farm of only 2 hectares immediately won us over. After hearing their story we were dedicated to have their teas in my store and give everyone a chance to try this remarkable tea from these amazing tea artisans - they truly have a heart of gold.
The tea plants on this farm are 30 years old, and the farm was purchased by the current owners 2009. The plants are of China Plant variety (sinensis sinensis). They have adapted to the Nilgiri mountains very well and developed their own distinct flavor. With small, thin leaves it is more than suitable for producing high quality tea.
The teas are produced 100% organically with an Indian organic certification (same as CE certified or Swiss organic) and the owner practices sustainable farming methods. Tea is picked by hand, processed daily in small batches to ensure maximum freshness and highest quality. Sustainability, whether related to the health of the soil, plants or people, is key in everything this farm does.
Single Estate India has over 500 silver oak trees on their farm that contribute to the unique taste, and offer shade for the tea plants. The fallen leaves act as a natural fertilizer, and the trimmings of the trees are used as firewood for the tea processing, bringing forth a unique flavor to their teas. The farm is totally self-sufficient.
The farm is run by eight employees who are guaranteed year-round work, which is rare, as the tea season only lasts six months. The owners provide a home for the employees in the farm house. They also pay their employees well above the market rate, provide annual bonuses and cash advances, and offer many other kind of help. Employee well-being really is a matter of pride to them.