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Meet Tea Importers

Founded in 1958, Tea Importers is a family-owned business that buys teas from most of the tea-producing countries in the world and sells it to major tea packers, blenders, and specialty tea companies in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. Tea Importers is also the majority owner of Sorwathe Ltd., a Rwandan tea farm and factory, dedicated to the production of world class teas while improving the lives of local workers.

CUP TO COMMUNITY

Every Cup Gives Back

Through Sorwathe, our tea farm and factory, we’re proud to support our local community by investing in clean water, health care, adult and child education, childcare, environmental initiatives, and more.

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THE SORWATHE STORY

Answering the Call of the Rwandan Government

During the 1960s and 70s, Tea Importers founder Joe Wertheim, was a well-known exporter of Kenyan and Rwandan teas. In 1972, the Rwandan government invited Mr. Wertheim to build a tea factory in Kinihira, a remote region located in the Northern hills of Rwanda. Given limited arable land and the lack of infrastructure in the province, the proposed project created many challenges.

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Overcoming Obstacles

A Thriving Community, Rooted in Our Tea

Arable land suitable for tea cultivation in Kinihira was extremely limited, given that the local inhabitants were dependent on subsistence farming. As a result, the unused local peat marshes were drained and cultivated through a USAID/European Development Fund project, thereby mitigating any negative impact on the local population.

Financing posed another hurdle, but fortunately Mr. Wertheim and the Rwandan government were able to support the project with loans from the International Finance Corporation and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

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THE SORWATHE STORY

A Thriving Community, Rooted in Our Tea

Given the remote location and lack of infrastructure, several challenges remained: roads needed to be built, fuel sources needed to be secured, and water and electricity needed to be brought to the factory before operations could begin. These challenges were met by Mr. Wertheim with the assistance of the Rwandan government. Construction of the factory began in 1975, with tea production commencing in 1978. Since then, tea production has steadily increased. Today, Sorwathe produces approximately 10% of Rwanda’s tea.

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Overcoming Obstacles

A Thriving Community, Rooted in Our Tea

Sorwathe currently manufactures high-quality green, black, oolong, and specialty teas for local and international markets. It was the first tea factory in Rwanda to manufacture Orthodox, organic, and green teas. All its teas are pesticide free.

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Meet the Rwandan Team

We’re honored to present our local leadership team of tea drinkers and forward thinkers.

Faustin Gakwandi

TRAINING MANAGER

Devotha Uwingabire

PLANTATION MANAGER

Patrick Dusabimana

CHIEF PROCESSING OFFICER

Stephanie Kamayirese

HEAD OF THE COMPLIANCE DEPARTMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Pelagie Uwanyirigira

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

Evelyne Mutuyimana

HUMAN RESOURCES

Christine Muhayimana

FAIRTRADE OFFICE

Bernard Ndayisanye

CHIEF ACCOUNTANT

Albert Mukiza

CHIEF ENGINEER

SHOP

Taste the Heart & Soul in Every Sip

Shop our green and black teas and taste the freshness and flavor you can only find in the green hills of Rwanda.

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