Skip to main content
Kenyan Tea
“It is soooo refreshing.” —Alice Oduor

After Kenya was colonized by the British, tea became a popular beverage, though Kenyans put their own spin on how it is made. Now, they claim to have the best tea in the world, being the largest tea producer and exporter in Africa, and fourth largest in the world. Kenya is a major producer of black tea, and heavily relies on the exportation of tea to help fuel the economy.


  • Water (1 cup for each cup of milk)
  • Whole milk or milk alternatives (1:1 ratio of milk to water)
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Loose leaf tea (black tea is most preferred)
  • Tea masala spices for extra flavor (optional)
    • Chai masala:
      • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
      • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
      • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
      • ¼ teaspoon cloves
      • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Bring water to a boil.
  • Add the same amount of milk to the boiling water (the more milk you use, the richer the tea will be).
  • Continue to boil water and milk. Let the mixture rise and fall several times by taking it on and off the heat. Let it settle.
  • Optional step: at this point, you may add sugar to taste if desired. It can also be offered at the table for those who wish to add it.
  • Add loose leaf tea and let it sit depending on how strong you prefer your tea.
  • Use a fine strainer (or a makeshift one, such as a coffee filter) to strain tea leaves out of mixture, and add extra spice if desired, such as chai masala spices.
  • Serve alone or with mahamri donuts. Enjoy!

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.