The flavour is closer to a black tea, than to coffee. Coffee leaf “tea” has a gentle sweetness, rich notes of chocolate and vanilla with a smooth mouthfeel and low astringency.
The second infusion is more vegetal with a subtle earthiness.
Coffee leaf has been made into a "tea" for hundreds of years in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. It is known there as "kuti" and has a long history as a herbal remedy, as well as being a delicious drink.
Recent research shows it has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and may lower cholesterol due to its high levels of mangiferin. It has lower levels of caffeine than tea, and coffee (where the caffeine is concentrated in the cherry).
Not only does coffee leaf taste wonderful and have great health benefits, but it's also a very sustainable crop.
At Satemwa they make their pure loose leaf coffee tea from what might have been wasted during coffee pruning. Every eight years, they cut the coffee plants back to the stump to reinvigorate the plant. When it starts to create new shoots, they keep the two strongest for regrowth and prune the rest. These tender little shoots are gathered and crafted into a delicious "tea".
This pruning is done on a rotation through the coffee , so there is always a harvest each year.
Satemwa grow both tea and coffee, and they nurture one another.
They use what they prune from the tea bushes to lay around the coffee plants to protect the soil from water evaporation and weeds. The pruned leaves and branches then break down to help fertilise the soil. What is left over from the coffee cherry is made into organic fertiliser to boost the tea.
Coffee Leaf crafted at Satemwa is informed and inspired by their tea making experience. They wither the leaf, to make it softer and more pliable, and then roll it like black tea, to increase oxidation of the oils in the leaf. This minimal processing protects the leaf and creates elegant flavour.