As the country known for the genesis of coffee drinking, enhanced and fostered by a centuries-old ritualized coffee ceremony, Ethiopia is not a country I associate with tea. But the Ethiopians do grow and drink tea and when I was at Tana Market, one of the Ethiopian groceries on Cherry Street in Seattle last week buying wine (Dukam, a dry red and Tej, Ethiopian honey wine), I bought two packets of tea that I had never tried before. One was a ginger root tea and the other was a traditional black tea.
A note on tea production from this informational site about Ethiopian export products:
The quality of tea mainly depends on climatic conditions, the type of soil upon which the plant grows and the method of processing. In Ethiopia, tea is mostly grown in the highland dense forest regions where the land is fertile and thus the use of fertilizer is very minimal.
Moreover, the availability of abundant and cheap labor in the Country has made the use of manual weeding, instead of chemical weeding, possible. Because of this mostly organic cultivation, Ethiopian tea is increasingly sought for its aroma and natural flavors. This is confirmed by the “International Gold Star” award for quality recently given by B.D.I. in Madrid, Spain to one of the major Ethiopian tea exporters, Tea Production and Marketing Enterprise.
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- Part II of the interview with Nigel Melican
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