Organic Rwanda Black Tea

Medium-bodied with smooth notes of molasses, salt and risen dough

fair trade certified certified organic
Organic Rwanda Black Tea

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Organic Rwanda Black Tea


This organic loose leaf black tea from Rwanda is a special delight. Fair Trade Certified, this medium bodied African black tea comes from the Cyohoha River valley in the northern province of Rulindo. It is an excellent example of one of the few high quality orthodox teas produced in Rwanda. The small twisted black leaves, grown at 6,500 ft above sea level, show hints of red and olive green in the wet leaf with an aroma that gives way to woodsy notes of warm cane sugar. The leaves brew a super bright, clear, and amber liquor with medium astringency and smooth notes of molasses, salt, and risen dough. The slight savory note on the end makes this loose leaf tea truly unique.

Ingredients: organic Rwandan black tea

Origin: Sorwathe Ltd, Rulindo Province, Rwanda

Organic Tea from Rwanda

Rwanda is a tea growing region that is almost entirely unknown in the specialty tea market. However, that is starting to change as climate change endangers traditional tea growing regions in Asia and as Rwandan producers begin to experiment with and create outstanding orthodox teas. Located near the equator in Africa, Rwanda is predicted to be one of the main tea growing regions of the future. One of the most successful tea gardens and co-ops in Rwanda is the Sorwathe Tea Factory and Estate and the Assopthe Tea Cooperative. Together they employ 3,000 factory and field workers and provide wages for an additional 3,500 small farmer members.

Founded in the 1970s, the factory and tea fields survived the 1994 genocide by offering steady employment and on-time pay to both Hutus and Tutsis. In 1998, the Associated Press said “In a country paralyzed by tribal violence, Cyohoha farm [Sorwathe] is rare in hiring workers without regard for ethnicity. Its success stands as an ideal.” With a long standing (and award winning) commitment to social responsibility, they are also Fair Trade Certified. They have used fair trade premiums to support the creation of a library and hospital, fund school updates and a pre-school nutrition program (providing daily morning porridge), and construct an athletic field where many employees play sports after work. Premiums also helped introduce rocket stoves and solar stoves which allowed for smokeless cooking and reduced the consumption of firewood by 90%.

Read our field notes from our visit to Sorwathe!

Steeping Instructions

At Arbor Teas, we believe tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. We’re happy to make recommendations to get you started, but don’t hesitate to experiment! When brewing your tea, your main considerations are tea quantity, water temperature, and steeping time. We recommend black teas to be steeped for 3 to 5 minutes in water heated to a full, rolling boil. For the best flavor, use fresh water whenever possible, and avoid overboiling. Try not to steep your tea longer than necessary, as you’ll extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves. If you want a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea. And don’t forget to re-steep your tea leaves to get the most out of your leaf!

Looking for more info? Check out our How-To Guides and Eco-Brewing Tips!

Staff Perspectives

  • Marina

    "This is my new favorite black tea! It’s light and feels fancy."

  • Chelsea

    "This is a great medium bodied black tea and the story behind the garden is so wonderful!"

  • Aubrey

    "I'm as impressed by this tea as I am by the social initiatives at the estate it comes from!"

Health Benefits

Health Benefits of Yerba Mate

Like all true tea, black tea offers many potential health benefits. Research has found that tea (Camellia sinensis) can have many positive effects on human health, including improved cardiovascular function, cancer risk reduction, improved immune function, improved oral health, and help with weight management. Tea is also full of polyphenols, which are a class of antioxidant that help your body maintain homeostasis and balance your stress levels. Black tea specifically has been found to regulate blood sugar in diabetics better than other types of tea, according to a study done by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

For more information about the health benefits of black tea and other types of tea, and for direct sources of the above information, check out our Tea Health Benefits page!

Please note: the information above is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Customer Reviews

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  • 4
    Strong and Full-Bodied

    Posted by Catherine Kleimeier on 11th Jun 2021

    This is a strong, full-bodied black tea that works well hot, iced, sweetened, or with milk. It has a medium astringency, strong flavor, and some subtle savory notes, but nothing in particular stands out about its flavor. I prefer it iced and brewed a bit on the strong side, but not over-steeped, or it has a tendency to become very bitter. I've found that I can use the leaves two to three times before they lose much flavor. Overall, this is a pleasant, versatile, tea with lots of uses, but no stand-out features.

  • 5

    Posted by Charlie on 18th Aug 2020

    Golden Yunnan is my usual breakfast tea but when I want a different taste this Rwanda Black is a perfect choice. Best African tea I’ve tried. It has a complex flavor and can take a little milk (which is how I prefer to drink black teas).

  • 5
    Very good!

    Posted by Anthony on 1st Aug 2020

    This was surprisingly good! It has a medium/full flavor that pairs nicely with milk. I agree with the above tasting notes. Molasses, salt, and I also get some sort of farm-fresh thing in there I can't quite put my finger on. It's easy drinking and well balanced. It lacks some of the wow factor of some of the Yunnan and Nepal black teas, with their tobacco, cacao, leather stuff going on. But this really nice and it feels good to support a country that needs support.

  • 5

    Posted by Kara on 13th Apr 2019

    What a great find! This is a thirst-quencher and pick-me-up in one. I'll definitely be buying this again!

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