Malawi’s tea industry dates to 1907 when the government of the country, which was then called the Nyasaland Protectorate, began issuing land grants to would-be farmers and planters. (Before 1907 the country was known as the British Central Africa Protectorate.) Amongst the new rubber and eucalyptus plantations, tea plantations sprung up on the rolling slopes of Thyolo Mountain, north of Blantyre, in the country’s southern district. Planters found that the mountain’s climate and high altitude to be highly suitable to growing a very sturdy bush without pesticides. (This is still true today - the insects and pests that typically attack tea cannot survive above 3000 feet. As such, our supplier uses no pesticides.)Although the conditions to grow truly exceptional teas were there right from the beginning, for much of Malawi’s hundred-plus years of tea history, crops in the country were typically bulk shipped to be blended for supermarket grade teabags. In recent years however, there has been something of a renaissance in Malawian tea with outstanding examples of self-drinking estate teas gaining accolades from around the tea world. This renaissance is thanks in part to planters like the Cathcart Kays, a tea family that has run Satemwa Estate, the producer of Zomba Pearls, since 1923. Throughout the tea world, the efforts of the Cathcart Kays are legendary. Over the last few years, their factory has been turning out innovative teas, blacks, greens and oolongs that have changed the way buyers look at Malawi’s output..Satemwa’s handmade Zomba Pearls are a captivating example of the quality of the estate’s output. Named after Malawi’s former capital, Zomba, the handmade tea offers lush floral notes tempered with grassy tones with a round sweetness and clean finish. In addition to their magnificent flavor, one of the big positives of Malawi’s green teas is that unlike many of their Eastern counterparts, they won’t get bitter. (Making them a great choice for converting new green tea drinkers!) Brew a pot, fill a cup and raise a toast to a new tea renaissance.