The Pfunda Tea Tour starts at the Cooperative office where your guide will explain the background of the cooperative and history of tea and tea production in Rwanda.
From Pfunda head office, the day continues on the back of one of the Tea Cooperatives’ trucks where guests travel with the rest of the tea workers from the Pfunda tea cooperative out into the tea plantations.
The Pfunda tea plantations stretch over several square kilometers and with wonderful views over an endless sea of light green tea bushes crisscrossed with pathways and streams covering the rolling hills and valleys. Once at the plantations, all visitors are given the same aprons, gloves and picking baskets as everyone else.
Your guide will teach you about growth and lifecycle of the tea bush in Rwanda. After this, everyone gets a crash course in tea picking before setting out into the plantation to pick tea. Tea picking is not as easy and straightforward as it might seem. Tea picking in Rwanda is totally manual and does not rely on any machinery. All tea is picked by hand. Only the young top three leaves on the bush are picked together with the bud – an unexpanded leaf at the top of the shoot. This new growth on the top of the tea plant is called the flush and is what the whole tea production is based on. As Rwanda is situated on the Equator, new flush is generated and can be picked all year round.
After your group has been picking tea for a while, you will now head over to one of the weighing stations situated at the edge of the field. At the weighing stations, each person’s harvest is measured along with the harvest of the other workers at the plantation. Normally, each worker is paid for the day based on performance. You will now have the opportunity to see how well your performance compares the workers who pick tea leaves every day for a living.
After weighing the harvest, the day ends for workers and they are transported back to the tea factory. You will join the transport of your harvested tea leaves with the rest of the workers on the back of the track to the Pfunda Tea Factory.
The tour continues at the Pfunda Tea Factory. Here you are shown how the tea is transformed from fresh leaves to a finished drinkable product. At the factory you will follow the tea leaves as they pass through a complicated process of drying, grinding, fermentation, tasting and finally packaging.
After learning and experiencing how the tea is processed in different ways into different tastes and products, you will have the opportunity to taste different kinds of tea to fully understand how the different treatments and variations create many variations of tastes.
Before leaving the factory you will be given a tea package from the Pfunda Tea Cooperative as a memory of your visit to the Pfunda Tea plantations and tea factory.