The new gold: Lost Malawi to hit the shelves of Waitrose

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The Independent Online

Tea as your grandparents would have drunk it is on its way to the UK for the first time in over a hundred years. Lost Malawi, a hand-crafted pure black tea, will be on the shelves at Waitrose in November, exported from the first African single-estate tea grower. Henrietta Lovell, a former corporate finance expert, runs the Rare Tea Company which imports the tea from Malawi.

But Lost Malawi doesn't come cheap, at £6.50 for 50g – about three times the normal cost – as Ms Lovell wants to pay the farmers a fair price. She is already selling other teas to Selfridges, but this one is special, looked after like a rare grape. She says: "I'm taking most of the cost so I can pay a fair price to the Malawian farmers and they can invest in the farm, their education and stay independent from the big agro-farmers. The big tea buyers usually pay about 90 cents a kilogram for their blended teas, but we will be paying them about six times the price they normally get."