It’s no secret that Kenyans are fond of at least one or two (or 3) cups of tea every single day. Be it indoors or outdoors, tea has proudly become a part of our culture. Currently, grown in 21 counties and is also the only cash crop grown widely in geographically dispersed areas in Kenya, this for sure is the land of Tea. And what’s better than sitting down for a relaxing cuppa with friends and family in the afternoon, after all, there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
Melvin Marsh International (MMI), a Kenyan based family business, and founders of Melvins Tea, hosted an elegant high tea party at the scenic and plush Zen Garden, to mark 25 years of existence, a celebration dubbed brewed to last. It was an afternoon, characterized by bright, beautiful fascinators, which set the tone for the celebrations and lots of tea sipping amongst gorgeous and dapper ladies and gentlemen, because let’s face it, high tea is an undoubtedly a fancy and an unapologetic elegant affair.
25 years ago, Flora Mutahi, CEO of Melvins Tea, wanted to change the narrative of people going on coffee dates by popularizing tea dates through the provision of tea in a variety of forms, since tea is a beverage found in many African homes. She wanted to bring flavored tea to tea lovers in Kenya and beyond. Many said that hers was an impossible dream, but loyal tea drinkers around the world made her dream a reality. Today Melvins Teas; the first flavored teas in the Kenyan market, serves millions of cups a year. The product base has expanded to include not only flavored teas but herbal and fruit infusions including green, orthodox and purple tea.
The high tea party saw family and friends, including Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development CS Betty Maina who was the guest of honor and other players within the manufacturing industry, consumers, distributors, retailers and relevant stakeholders come together to not only celebrate a woman entrepreneur who has built a brand against all odds but also to showcase the journey of MMI from a local to international brand; a sign of hope and faith in the growth of the Kenya’s manufacturing industry.
It was Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford (1788 to 1861) who began the tradition of high tea. The duchess found herself growing hungry long before the evening meal and began to have a meal (tea and pastries) served in her chamber around five. At first she dined alone but she soon initiated a tradition of inviting a few of her closest friends to join her at the main table (high table as it was then called) for afternoon tea. Nothing encapsulates the true spirit of Britain quite like a high tea party.
Before Melvins, the world of tea looked very different. Tea was tea, sometimes with milk and sugar often just plain. In 1995, MMI CEO and Founder noted that people desired and deserved exceptional flavors of tea which could be enjoyed every day. This formed the basis to build a world class company with several strong Melvins Brands. The evening also marked the launch of a luxury collection of orthodox teas by MMI.
Tea is a ritual and when we share that ritual with others, near or far, we can find a powerful connection that we will take with us in life. What’s not to love about sandwiches, scones, cream cakes, and bite size treats all served alongside a cup of piping hot tea and some bubbly to mark special occasions in life? High tea is always a chance to bring everyone together and reminisce of past memory’s, get excited about the future and just sit back and relax, and enjoy life.
“No matter where you are in the world, you are at home when tea is served.” – Earlene Grey