First planted with tea in 1903, the majority of Kenya’s tea gardens are clustered on the slopes of the Great Rift Valley, a vast geological formation created by a powerful volcanic eruption many thousands of years ago. The valley cuts the country lengthwise and is one of Africa’s most lush corners. Within the valley some 22% of the tea world’s export supply is grown, roughly 349,000 tons of finished tea per year. It’s a lot of tea.The bulk of production has traditionally been CTC manufacture (Cut Tear Curl) but recent innovations by Kenyan manufacturers has seen the development of some spectacular teas never before seen in the country. Among them is Silverback White tea, named after the magnificent Silverback Gorillas that can be found in the region. The gorillas are characterized by a white patch of fur on their backs, the color of which is very similar to the white tips used to create the tea.In a country that produces such vast quantities of tea, Silverback is a true rarity. In fact it is believed to be one of the rarest teas in the world – only 600 kgs of it are made on an annual basis. As mentioned, the tea is made from only the choicest white tips, flushed by highly specialized tea bushes in the valley’s cool early mornings. The fresh leaf is hand plucked, hand rolled and dried naturally. The process is exceedingly laborious and even the most skilled tea artisan can produce only about 1 kg per day.We were exceptionally fortunate to secure a supply of this tea delicacy for The Plaza. Even for long-time tea tasters, a pot of Silverback White Tea is a revelation. The cup opens widely with breathtaking notes of honey, roasted nuts and Madagascar vanilla leading to a long smooth finish – a tea your guests will never forget.