There are two distinct origins of tea and the subspecies of the Camellia sinesis bush, These origins have different characteristics.
Camellia sinensis var sinensis stems from the mountains of Southern China. Sinensis-type teas are characterized by small leaves which make light and aromatic teas.
Camellia sinensis var assamica stems from the jungles of Assam in India. Assamica-type teas make heavy, malty teas.
Satemwa is in the rare and fortunate position of not only having both sinensis and assamica varietals, but also hybrids between the two that have been bred in Malawi.
In the main plucking season from December to May, plucking is done every 10 days. For the very highest quality teas including our TeaCru’s, harvesting takes place every seven days. Plucking crews are known as “gangs”, done so for the pleasant social experience, rather than any negative connotations. This also helps to maintain the plucking round if people are off on leave, ill, etc.
A group of pluckers usually covers an area of approximately 25 hectares. A capitao, recognizable by the blue helmet, leads the way, dividing the labour so 70% of the workers are plucking the fields, and the rest are maintaining the area. In the main season there are 1.5 – 1.8 pluckers per hectare. In the off- season only about one plucker per hectare works the fields. “The 7-day plucking round, where each bush is plucked every seven days, requires very skilled pluckers. They are more selective in harvesting only the finest leaves. These gangs tend to be smaller. The mainstream plucking gangs are less selective, including many seasonal workers in the main plucking season,” according to NN