TEA REVIEWS: What-Cha – Two Malawi teas from the Satemwa Tea Estate

What-Cha - Malawi Teas

Today I’m reviewing a black tea and a dark tea from the Satemwa Tea Estate in Malawi that are available for purchase at What-Cha. The black tea consists of full leaves that have been lightly oxidised and hand rolled. The dark tea, which is comparable to a shou puerh, is thought to be the only dark tea currently being produced in Africa.

Malawi Bvumbwe Handmade Treasure Black Tea


Tea and origin: Black tea from the Satemwa Tea Estate, Shire Highlands, Malawi, Africa
Harvest date: 20 March 2014
Farmer: Alexander Kay
Twitter: @What_Cha_Tea
Facebook: What-Cha
Link to Bvumbwe

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: Full, slightly twisted leaves that have a floral aroma

Wet leaf: Fruity and sweet

Liquor colour: Copper

Liquor aroma: Fruity

Liquor flavour: The liquor has both lemon and berry-like flavours. It is a very light-                                         bodied tea that is refreshing and has a clean mouthfeel

Infusion method: Glass or ceramic teapot                                                                                                                       4 to 5 grams of tea                                                                                                                                 150 to 200ml of 95 to 100C water                                                                                                     Infusion times: 2 and 3 minutes                                                                                                         Infuse 2 times


This tea has great aroma and a wonderful complexity. I had no idea what to expect before tying it, and I would have to say that it is one of the more unique black teas I’ve tasted from Africa. The very light body of the tea won’t be for everyone. It is not a tea to add milk to, but it would be an ideal afternoon tea.

Retail price: 10 grams for £1.43 / 50 grams for £4.75 / 100 grams for £8.84


Malawi 2014 Leafy Dark Tea


Tea and origin: Dark tea from the Satemwa Tea Estate, Shire Highlands, Malawi, Africa
Harvest date: 26 May 2014
Farmer: Alexander Kay
Twitter: @What_Cha_Tea
Facebook: What-Cha
Link to Leafy Dark

Tasting notes

Dry leaf: Consists of full and broken leaves that have a sweet, woody aroma

Wet leaf: Woody, cedar wood-like aroma

Liquor colour: First infusion: brown liquor with red tinge. Subsequent infusions: dark,                                 almost coffee colour

Liquor aroma: Earthy and woody

Liquor flavour: It has flavours and characteristics that I associate with many young                                         ripe puerh teas: earthy, woody, sweet undertones, medium-bodied,                                         slightly bitter and sharp, and a dry mouthfeel and finish

Infusion method: Gong fu style with gaiwan or Yixing teapot                                                                                     4 to 5 grams of tea                                                                                                                                 150 to 200ml of 100C water                                                                                                               Infusion times: 20 to 45 seconds                                                                                                       Infuse 4 to 5 times


This is a great example of solid everyday young dark tea. It hasn’t had the time to age so the flavours haven’t entirely settled and are a bit sharp. However, that doesn’t mean it is nice to drink. Its woody, sweet flavours are enjoyable and the tea can be infused many times, making it good value for money.

Retail price: 10 grams for £1.35 / 50 grams for £4.50 / 100 grams for £8.37

Overall comments

Of course these two teas cannot be compared in any meaningful way because they are so different. What I do find interesting about both of them is that exemplify the exciting changes going on in the Africa tea industry. I’ve never tasted a black tea like this from any African country. Its sweetness reminds more of some Nepalese or Assam teas. And the dark tea is a real game changer. What-Cha advertises that it is the only dark tea being produced in Africa. To my knowledge, this is true.


About teaxplorer

I grew up in the Midwest of the US and was introduced to tea at a very young age - unsweetened iced tea, that is! It was not until my early 20s, when I was seeking a lighter alternative to coffee, that I took tea drinking to a new level. I still remember my mother suggesting that I try putting milk in a cup of black tea (something that actually sounded a bit repulsive at the time, but I gave it a go). I quickly became tired of supermarket tea and started ordering teas from shops and companies all over the US. Throughout my 20s and now into my early 30s, pursuits in higher education studies, work opportunities and marriage have given me opportunities to live in the UK, Canada and Germany and travel around the world, which has sparked an even greater interest in tea and the culture of tea. This blog is my outlet to discuss my love of tea and show off some of my photos. All images and opinions on this blog are my own, unless stated otherwise. I retain copyright on all photographs, but please do not hesitate to contact me at teaxplorer@gmail.com if you wish to reproduce any of my images. Likewise, if you would like me to review and photograph any teas for you, please get in touch. I would be happy to hear from you. Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I hope you return many times! Happy drinking! Drew B (@teaxplorer)
This entry was posted in Black tea, Dark tea, Malawi, What-Cha and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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