Each week we highlight the people, cooperatives and companies who create our curated items so you can learn more about the people, places, stories, economies, artistry and methods of items brought to you!
Featured Maker: JusTea!
About the Farmers:
JusTea is handmade by Kenyan tea farmers and woodworkers. Back in 2012, Kenyan Tea farmers were unable to meet basic needs for their families due to low pay. Although a large industry in Kenya, the tea farmers only earned about $2 per day for their work- or about 20-30 cents per 10-hour day. Due to this, many families struggled to pay for food, water, sanitation and education.
After Canadian family members Grayson, Paul and Ian Bain learned of this during a visit to Davison and Grace’s farm, they knew this had to change. Years later, the partnership between the two families resulted in Kenya’s first-ever, small-scale farmer-owned, Artisanal Tea Factory! JusTea profits provide fair and sustainable wages for tea farming families.
Along with unfair wages, Kenya also struggles with a severe shortage of jobs. Not only does JusTea provide fair wages for the original tea workers, it also is responsible for creating many new jobs. Along with the employment of tea farmers all over the country, JusTea also employs over 50 different woodworking families that create their hand-carved Kenyan teaspoons.
Even now, they continue their efforts of training and employing families all over the country so they can keep doing what they love while receiving the pay they deserve.
About the Tea:
Kenya is the world's largest exporter of tea! There are over 500,000 small-scale Kenyan farmers who grow and export over 450,000 tons of tea leaves each year.
Many of the small families are still working towards the process of getting their leaves certified organic. However, all of their 1-3 acre farmers grow teas that are 100% pesticide free and no chemicals are ever sprayed on the leaves.
JusTea also utilizes whole leaf tea in order to provide the best flavor and most benefits. 95% of Kenyan teas are processed in huge factories and are made with CTC leaves (Crush, Tear, Curl). This results in a lower-quality, mass produced tea that lacks many of the leaves’ original benefits. Like many smaller businesses, JusTea is dedicated to producing high-quality, artisanal products that are not available from large scale companies.
*Did you know? All tea comes from the same plant – the tea tree (Camellia Sinensis). Different varieties of this tree produce different types of tea.
*Did you know? Green tea, oolong tea, and black tea all come from the same green tea leaf but have different levels of leaf oxidation