6.30am Kanungu, Western Uganda.
I look over to my right, mountains covered in mist, a vast blanket of green meeting my eyes. A few km down the road, Uganda ends and the Congo begins.
It is in this moment, that I am reminded why we had decided to venture into East Africa, and begin the long search for the best tea, hidden away in remote communities on this vast and exhilarating continent.
Back in Amsterdam, I was enjoying my evening tea as another day ended. Lost in thoughts, I slowly dip the leaves into the hot water, letting them steep briefly before taking my first sip. I wondered where this tea came from, and how it ended up all the way into my cup in Amsterdam, who were the people responsible for my evening delight? I scan the package for potential hints. A google search later, I still cannot find the answers I am looking for.
And I ask myself, how is it that we have become so disconnected to the products we consume on a daily basis?
There must be a way to get to know the faces behind the leaves, to smell and touch the tea bushes, and hear their stories. This is how FRANK’s journey began, a journey from leaf to cup. From Amsterdam to East Africa, and beyond.
Sure, we could just head to one of the large tea auctions, an important one being Mombasa (Kenya), and buy tea there, which is where most of your daily tea comes from anyway, waiting around for months in large warehouses until exported. But what would be the fun in that? ;)
Most farmers do not even know what happens to their leaves after they pluck them, and unfortunately, they do not get paid enough to live any sort of dignified life (current average of 0.0821 EUR p/kg in Uganda, crazy right!).
I know my cup of tea would taste a hell of a lot better if I knew where it comes from, if I knew the people behind it are pouring their life’s work and soul in it, and receiving a price they deserve!
Follow our journey, meet the farmers, hike the mountains, hop onto my motorcycle and let the adventure begin.
Keep it FRANK,
Valerie & David