Ajiri Tea Company

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drank Rooibos by Ajiri Tea Company
556 tasting notes

This is easily one of my favorite straight rooibos teas. It’s woody, sweet, and soothing. I also really like the company’s mission/process. The tea itself is produced on a cooperative farm. The women who pick it are paid a fair wage, and they also hand-make the labels and beads. 100% of the net profits from the business are used to pay school fees and buy books and uniforms for orphans. Bonus: the boxes are very lovely and I always keep them for their aesthetic value. Sadly, this is a sipdown, but I expect to restock soon(ish).

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This was my favorite of the Ajiri teas that I tried at the Coffee & Tea Festival. The mango doesn’t taste at all artificial. The slight sweetness of the mango flavor works to highlight the maltiness of the base tea. I’m not even supposed to drink black teas but I want to drink this one. Lots.

Flavors: Malt, Mango

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I tried several Ajiri teas at the NYC Coffee & Tea Festival this year. This was one of them. I initially expected that I would end up choosing this blend, but it turned out to be my least favorite. The ginger flavor clearly comes from real ginger in the blend. It’s strong, but not overwhelming. The malty base tea holds its own. However, the flavors of the ginger and base tea just didn’t quite mesh for me. Ginger good. Base tea good. But they just didn’t play together at all. It’s like the flavor of each was hanging out in its own corner and refusing to interact. Possibly a shorter or longer steep time would fix this. Maybe I’ll get a box next year to play around with!

Flavors: Ginger, Malt

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This year’s NYC Coffee & Tea Festival was a bit disappointing, though I still managed to spend more than I did last year. The old venue was nicer – more centrally located and with fewer temperature control issues. They were giving out free (empty) totes this year but ran out before I even got there. In general, there were a lot fewer freebies than in previous years. When they’re charging $25 per ticket just to get in without a gift bag, one hopes for some perks. I used a discount code, but that was still $15 for the privilege of spending more money. I did sample a whole bunch of teas in the process. Some were better than others. I took notes. Now I’m going to share them with you :-) Prepare to have your dashboards flooded, folks!

Ajiri Tea does truly admirable work. They employ locals in the area where their teas are produced to make the labels for their boxes and donate profits to pay school fees for orphans. I like supporting socially useful companies, so I always make a point of buying something from Ajiri when I see them exhibiting. This year I tried several of their teas before settling on the mango-flavored black.

I sampled the lemon-flavored tea first. Apparently it’s award-winning. I liked it. The lemon flavor was very natural tasting, neither too sweet nor too tart, but more lemongrass than lemon. This was a very smooth blend. However, the lemoniness kind of drowned out the usually hearty base tea. Tasty, but not my top choice out of their offerings.

Flavors: Lemongrass


i wish i could have been…but your comments make me feel a bit better about not being there


Yeah, the Midwest Fest looks like it will be much better but of course I can’t make it to that one. The NYC Fest just didn’t feel like it was run by tea and/or coffee lovers this year.

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Ah well.

Rainy sick day today so I decided to brew this up traditionally. Similar to a marsala chai without the spices! A real treat.

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Quite happy to get this one out of the cupboard. I opened it once the lemon myrtle was done and dusted, so I’d have another plain black handy, and gosh it’s a good one. Just a big strong cup that’s delicious with a dash of milk and just what’s needed at the start of some days.

I’m keen to try it with the original brewing method listed on the box, similar to a traditional masala chai it appears to be. Something to have a bit of fun with soon.

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I picked this tea up on a whim. I was at the mall because I needed to go to the DMV and change my driver’s license to NY, so I stopped by the health food store to check out their tea selection. Honestly, it was pretty disappointing… Mostly Republic of Tea and similar bagged brands, but this cute little handmade box caught my eye, so I bought it! I must say, the box is stunning. The scene on the front/sides is actually made of individual paper cutouts that are pasted on. So cool!

The tea itself is a CTC black, which is a new one for me. It resembles coffee grounds. Dry scent is very strong and malty, with maybe a bit of bread? I’ve tried brewing this tea a few times and it always comes out too strong for my tastes, so I’m giving it one last chance and finally writing a note. This time I did a scant teaspoon of tea for 1 minute at 200 degrees.

Brewed aroma is strong and malty with a sharp, almost sour note. At first sip, I am reminded of miso soup. Eh? Strange but there it is. Definitely very malty, with a hint of seaweed or some other savory green. It’s somewhat drying on my tongue, but not enough to be a bother. Definitely not like any other black tea I’ve tried! :P

Flavors: Astringent, Malt, Seaweed, Tannic

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sample sipdown!

Drank the last of the tea bags Sil sent me of this satisfying tea.

Not quite as amazing as the first time around but a nice, solid black tea that stands up to milk, looked for breakfast.

I think I would order Butiki’s Crimson Horizon before I would buy some of this one though.

So glad to try a second CTC tea! Thanks again, Sil!!

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Received this surprise sample from Sil, decided that today was the day to try it. Made it for my breakfast tea. All the reviews talk about it like it’s not a tea for the faint of heart, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, haha.

I half expected it to brew into some kind of thick black sludge or something.

But in seriousness, I am a fan of a good sturdy tea so I figured I’d enjoy this. Then I did!

I tried it without milk and it was tasty, but the old coffee drinker in me prefers a breakfast tea with milk in it so that’s what I did.

I’d consider buying some at some point in the future, good cause too!

Thanks, Sil!


:) it’s fun to try new things!


Absolutely :)

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drank Kenyan Black Tea by Ajiri Tea Company
6814 tasting notes

My rating and notes for this one seem to have disappeared. BOOOOO! This tea is really lovely. It’s a beautifully smooth black tea that’s middle of the road in my world in terms of boldness and strength. I have thoroughly enjoyed having these tea bags around because they’re just a quick and delicious option. Plus i adore the handmade aspect to the boxes they come in and the handmade beads that are used to close off the plastic wrapper inside. I fully support what these guys are trying to do as well – especially since their end product is delicious!

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Thanks to Sil for this surprise sample! I haven’t had too many Kenyan teas (although I have had tea in Kenya, haha) so I’m always interested to try some out. This was a tea bag version of this tea, and I used both tea bags in my 12oz mug. I steeped it on the cooler side knowing that these types of teas tend to get a little overly robust for me.

This turned out rather pleasant. There was little bitterness in the cup as brewed, although there was a bit of a “kick” in the back part of the sip. I did put a splash of milk in after a few sips to smooth it out a bit. It had a nice malty flavor with some hints of grains. I also got a bit of powderiness, probably because of the tea bags and tea dust likely present in them.

This would be perfect for those mornings where you really need a kick in the pants. I remember the last time I was in Nairobi, I was having tea after a night of nearly no sleep (red-eye flight), and these types of teas have a certain comforting and jolting effect that can really set you straight in a situation like that. Not something I would reach for often, but it certianly has its place. Thanks, Sil!

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

i love their box that the bags come in, even though i’m not always a fan of tea bags heh.


I love the box too! One of our big Aussie tea companies stocks this, which I love, because 99.99% of their stock is their own brand.

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I was lucky enough to visit their booth during the Coffee & Tea Festival in Philadelphia! I sampled their ginger variation of the black tea, but decided that I wanted to acquire a box of their plain offering.

It is a CTC black tea and comes in standard bag form. You must be careful not to oversteep.

I found it to be very astringent and strong. I forced myself to drink it plain to get to know it, as I’ve not really had Kenyan black tea before. I then had some cut with cream and a smidge of honey. It was much more enjoyable that way. It is a very malty and robust tea, and for the weak of heart (I admit, I was a little weak that day) it is a force to be reckoned with without something cut in to make it gentler.

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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i had my first CTC teas. two of them in one day. which is a great way to learn probably.
i steeped each two times. and i experimented with steeping times, as in drinking after 1 min and 2 min and 3 min. and i really do like CTCs. dark and malty. niiiiice.

i will investigate and try more!

thank you Shelley_Lorraine! such great great variety you sent me.

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Thank you KiwiDelight for this generous sample of Kenyan black tea.

I wasn’t expecting a CTC tea. I didn’t know they ever came in un-bagged form. I was surprised to receive a bag of what looked like ground coffee. I was hesitant to use my tea infuser as I wasn’t sure that the small bits would stay contained. I thought this a perfect opportunity to use my new fillable tea bags that I got from my local co-op (I got them to give away samples during a class presentation).

This is a good and bold black tea. A bit sweet and malty with a slight powdery texture. It’s certainly better than the CTC black teas I’ve had in the past. It might become an occasional visitor to my permanent stash.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 45 sec
KiwiDelight Glad you like it! :] They sell tea bags as well. And their small boxes that contain the tea are lovely.

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When I saw Ajiri’s booth at the Coffee and Tea Festival, I had to stop by, being curious about African teas. I talked to the older daughter of the family who owns the small farm and company. It was a relaxed, lovely and informative conversation: we talked about the company itself, about how they bought the farm and started their business, and about the tea they produce and African tea in general. Ajiri, Swahili for employment, hires Kenyan middle-aged/older woman, who hand-craft beautiful pictures of indigenous Kenyan scenery on the boxes and fashion strings with two colorful beads that tie the bags containing the tea.

I gladly bought a box of their loose leaf tea – a CTC black – which I sampled twice. The flavor was too unique to pass up, as was one of their boxes. The tea is distinctively African, and to my surprise, it’s not as bitter as other African black teas I’ve tried. It’s light-bodied, and the bitterness disappears after swallowing! The best part: I can appreciate a cup of this without milk and/or sugar! When I brewed some at home, I did so with an infuser in an 8 oz mug, rather than the Kenyan method given on the box. The color of the liquor is beautiful, a scarlet. Then, when there were only a few more sips left, golden sun.

If you’re looking to introduce yourself to African teas, this one might be good try!


I drink a lot of this, buy it at my teashop for 3.95 an ounce and it only takes a half teaspoon per cup. Nice and strong tea! Because it’s not malty you can add things to it like ginger or cinnamon or whatever you like blending (but I like it straight mostly).


I love it straight. It sounds yummy with cinnamon :)

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I picked this up at the local co-op on the way home tonight with a few other things. I was only in there for the acidophilus (fancy live culture stuff to help with the Lyme). Then my husband came in and said “let’s look around”. Well that turned into a 40+ dollar trip. BUT we did find they have a large gluten free section and yummy teas (loose and boxed).

I recalled at World Tea East speaking with two lovely ladies from Ajiri Teas and them mentioning our local co-op sold their teas. So I asked to cut some time and three employees/owners showed me the way. It is a VERY popular tea there. :) I’d had it a year ago and enjoyed it so I picked up a box of the bagged tea.

I love the hand painted designs on the box. When I got home I loved that there were hand tied beads holding the inner bag closed. Very cool! Now on to the taste. To me it tastes rather mild like a few straight up Ceylons I’ve had. I notice also a hint of malty goodness to the tea too. I like it. Might need to add this to the must have list.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec

This comes in loose or bag and my tea shop sells it by the ounce too ($2.95). Anyway, it’s very strong which I like.
Good with milk though and all proceeds go for charity.


They had the loose tea too. But my hubs grabbed the bagged tea. :) I think these meds are making everything taste weak. :(

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I haven’t been visible on Steepster much over the past few weeks which is odd since most of you know that I love tea, and care about the people in this unique meeting place.

Spring brings dramatic changes to the weather! Thunder and lightning, late snow and the first warm days worthy of stripping off my sweater.

For me, these weather fluctuations are physically painful. The weather triggers migraines and fibromyalgia pain. Sleep is disturbed, my bones ache and through brain fog I have the hardest time making a decent cup of tea.

Today I was lucky!

I woke with usual painful bones at 4AM then fell asleep on the couch at 10:00. The weather had dipped from 67 degrees to 19 degrees in 13 hours. When I rose again, I didn’t have faith that I could make a decent cup of tea but I tried anyway.

Ajiri is strong tea! I’m fond of it in the morning with milk.

For days, I had been over-steeping, under-leafing, screwing up every tea I touched. It had been discouraging. I had gone to my tea-bar a couple of times just to have someone else fix tea for me.

I carefully measured the tea (which I seldom do anymore) into a 20oz pot and steeped 2 minutes (longer than the 1 recommended). Failure wasn’t an option anymore. This needed to be done right!

When I poured the first cup, the flavor was perfect! Strong, brisk and bready. I added evaporated milk and some sweetening to balance the richness.

Of course I’ll get through this physical slump, I’ve had this happen before…but I thought I should say something. You might know someone who goes through this too and could use a little understanding or help fixing a cup of tea.

A couple of people had noticed that I had been absent from Steepster. Writing thoughtful reviews when I’m not well and my bones ache isn’t fair to the tea. This situation will end soon enough.

About this Ajiri tea though…for anyone who isn’t a fan of malty tea’s but has been searching for a strong tea that isn’t bitter and stands up well to milk…this would be a good choice.


I hope you get better Bonnie hang in there.


Feel better, Bonnie


I was gettin worried about choo Bonnie! Mum has fibromyalgia as well and I feel so helpless watching her suffer.
makes you a virtual cuppa tea

Terri HarpLady

“Feel better, Ms Bonnie”, little Terri says, giving you a big hug!


Hope you are feeling better soon!


Thanks for the virtual cuppa and good wishes. Been watching ‘Call the Midwife’ on Netflix. Another wonderful PBS Series. I try to keep positive.


Awwws, You’re such a sweetheart and I hope you feel better soon! Thanks for the great reviews, I always read them. huggsss


Hang in there! Hope you feel better soon!

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UH OH! 00

I was cleaning the linen closet and smelled smoke. Following my super nose like a hound-dog, I went outside and there was a huge plume of smoke up where the big fires were last Summer that lasted a month.
It’s only MARCH!

Some people have been evacuated, but we’re hoping for the first rains to arrive tomorrow (without lightening).

The smell of smoke…ugh!

I needed to go out and meet my family for dinner, so I picked Ajiri to give me the jolt I needed to face the smoke and get moving.

This is that one tea you want when you have to study late at night or when you have to drive a long distance. It will keep you running.

I’m not affected by caffeine for very long. The deep straightforward black tea flavor is what really appeals to me.


Oh no! Same place as last year? I hope the fire department was able to tame it!


Not yet.


that’s terrible Bonnie. I really hope it’s under control soon xx


I went out and saw the flames when it was dark. That’s so weird. Took a not-so-good pic and posted it on my facebook. It was dusk and not the best time to shoot.

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Like most of the rest of you, I was up late last evening watching CNN and the election results. No matter what you feel about the election results, I have to comment on something I saw on CNN.

Right on the CNN big board where all the names of the famous places in the World are listed, all the Cities like London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Rome, Quito, Toronto was a word I love, FRONTRANGE! WooHoo! The word Frontrange (where I live) Colorado made the big board on CNN! (I just had to get that out!)

You may have noticed some other news about Colorado too. That’s going to be the source of some puns. I’ve already listed John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High on my Facebook and commented on ‘High Tea’. After all, I’m a child of the 60’s and I couldn’t resist the jokes!

Today I scooted off to Happy Lucky’s for strong tea. This one is a favorite. Very dark and gutsy without being malty at all.
I always add half & half and sometimes sugar because this is so robust. I bought an inky black chocolate bar and shared it with the smartly suited young man seated at the tea bar next to me. He had a ponytail like the young Sean Connery. (Bond, James Bond)

He had ordered a pot of Pu-erh.
The chocolate went well with both our tea orders.

Earlier, I shared a citrus mini tuo cha with Sam and told him to poke at it instead of letting it slowly dissolve over several steeps. I had him keep the steep time short (30 seconds).
This was a new method for Sam and he liked how the Pu-erh tasted.

Sam decided to try the same method with the second pot of Pu-erh for his customer. He poked the nuggets with a spoon to break it up, then poured fresh boiling water in the pot.
The young man had never tasted the full flavor of this Pu-erh before and liked it. He had only ever had the lighter first steeping, never the fully released Pu-erh.

Sharing what we learn here on Steepster is lots of fun. (I’m always learning from new people who know far more than I do… and from new experiences.)


I woke up at 5 o’clock AM on wednesday for professional reasons and saw in live the announcement of the election results.
Unfortunately didn’t see the big board with Frontrange !
Coming back to the tea, interesting points Bonnie thanks for sharing with us. If I want to try Pu erh, which blend would you recommend me as I am an absolute beginner with this type of tea ?


Hum, being in Paris makes things more interesting. I’d send you some to try but I can’t afford the international shipping right now. Maybe after the first of the year.
I’ll look up some and send suggestions.


thanks Bonnie :)


Lovely anecdote, Bonnie. =)

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I was out and about, running errands and stopped in at Happy Luckys to meet up with tea guru Eric (who works at Happy Lucky’s) to taste some Pu-erh that I received from a Steepster friend. That review will be on my blog in a few days and is remarkable!

When we finished our Puerh tasting, I still wanted some tea! Our little delicate cups of gentle Shu were wonderful but now it was time to pour the big lady serious tea and get down and dirty.

I was sitting at the bar.
I wanted a pot of Lucky Tea House’s finest black tea. Now.
Sam looked at Eric and said under his breath, “How about the Kenyan Ajiri?…no, no, it’s too strong…well…maybe she would like it, she likes strong tea. What do you think?”
“Hum, Eric laughed, maaaybe, OK.”

Then they turned to me.
“Let’s do it guys, I’m that kind of gal, wild and crazy! Set it up!” I said.

First, Sam brought me a tin of the super-small black leaves
(they looked more like poppy seeds) which smelled salty and savory.

Then, the wet leaves which were smaller than coffee grinds were presented with a very malty, rich aroma.

Last the dark brown liquor which was very strong tasting, and I liked it! It wasn’t smoky or malty but tasted solid and a bit fruity. I sipped for awhile.

I then added some cream (I was told the tea was too strong to drink plain but found it to be smooth enough for me).
After drinking a full mug of tea, I ordered a ginger cookie to eat along with my tea. The taste of these two together was out of this world! I’m a bit of a ginger cookie, black tea lover. An addiction as a treat!

A great piece of information!
100% of the profits from the tea sales of AJIRI goes to pay for uniforms and books for orphans in Western Kenya! What a great way to
enjoy tea and help others!

Check out www.ajirifoundation.com

Asante sana (thank you very much!) http://flic.kr/p/dphd5h

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I feel deprived…I’ve never had a ginger cookie. :(
But on a good note, I have like 12lbs of Kenya tea that I have yet to indulge in, excited to dive in now! :D


You’ve never had a Ginger Cookie! :O You haven’t lived! lol

Terri HarpLady

I love all things ginger, yum!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I must research this ginger cookie you speak of… :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Ohhh, it’s short for a gingerbread cookie. lol…i hadn’t made that connection. Yes, I hav lived…and now I have to go buy some because tis the season, right? haha :D


No no! Like a ginger snap or ginger molasses cookie! They are chewy and amazing!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

:O wheree can i find these things?!


Some stores carry the larger semi soft ginger cookies which are very nice. You break off a bit of cookie then drink some strong black tea (malty tea’s go well with these too) and eat and sip. This way, I don’t sweeten my tea at all but if I want to, I add cream to my tea. Some brands of boxed ginger snaps are nice and spicy. OK in a pinch.


do you have a Starbucks nearby? up in Toronto, they have them in the shop and are seriously tasty!!

Whispering Pines Tea Company

No, I live in the middle fo nowhere. Haha. But I’ll definitely find some :)


Squash banana. :D


if you like supporting tea farmers in Kenya…and love really amazing tea…go find Royal Tea of Kenya…truly amazing…especially the Royal Golden Safari…wow


I’ve had other Kenyan tea’s. This one is a very strong tea for people who like super strong Irish or Scot’s Tea or Keemun, this would be one for you!

Hesper June

Hehehe, the picture you gave me with your words, Bonnie…you at the bar…tea canisters behind the bar, the boys wondering if it would be strong enough or too strong, and you…“Set ’em up, Sam!”
Its like a wonky old western film;)


Well, that’s my life. Sam is real though. Everyone in the shop is involved with tea and charities.


nice…sounds like a wonderful spot

Whispering Pines Tea Company

Ha! I finally tried Ginger Snaps and they are awesome! :D


Great! Spicy cookies with black tea is a favorite sin! Especially malty black tea’s.

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I was dipping them in my lapsang, Ashes of Autumn :D

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I underrated this a little at first. It is a pretty generic-tasting black tea, but it has a citrusey note to it that I appreciate.

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