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Teas with Rwandan roots that aim to do good

Sales of 3 Mountains teas help fund Stender Delaney’s nonprofit Africa Healing Exchange, which runs women’s empowerment training programs.

A line of loose-leaf and sparkling caffeinated beverages made from teas from Rwanda from the social enterprise 3 Mountains.
A line of loose-leaf and sparkling caffeinated beverages made from teas from Rwanda from the social enterprise 3 Mountains.Sally Tanner

Tea grows on rolling hills at high elevations in Rwanda, where the volcanic soil and temperate climate create ideal conditions. In fact, some of the world’s best black, green, and white teas come from this small country. In 2009, Sara Stender Delaney, a Vermont native and Simmons graduate, moved to Rwanda for a year, spurred by a documentary she watched about the 1994 genocide. She spent her time working with survivors and their families. Since then, Stender Delaney, who now lives in Asheville, N.C., launched 3 Mountains, a social enterprise with two product lines. One is Tima Tea (tima means heart in Rwanda’s native language) and is a selection of Rwandan organic, loose-leaf teas, hand-harvested and sourced from farmer cooperatives. The teas are packaged in triangle tins and come in choices that include Silver, which has a flavor of jasmine; White is light and floral, while Green is earthy and peachy. The nutty Black has hints of molasses (1 to 2.5 ounces; $8 to $11). The other, a line of sparkling caffeinated tea beverages called Sarilla, is created with natural ingredients and brewed in a similar way as beer and comes in 12-ounce cans but is nonalcoholic. One choice, Harvest Gold, combines black tea with apple juice; Keto Green has green tea and hibiscus. The Original blends silver and black teas with lemon ($2.79 for 12 ounces). A sketch of a gorilla adorns each can. “Seeds for this project came to me after spending years working with the people of Rwanda and sitting with the Virunga Mountain Gorillas in an East African jungle,” says Stender Delaney. Sales of the teas help fund Stender Delaney’s nonprofit Africa Healing Exchange, which runs women’s empowerment training programs. Various selections are available at Pemberton Farms Marketplace, 2225 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-491-2244; Concord Market, 77 Lowell Road, Concord, 978-369-7500; Good Health Natural Foods, 1630 Hancock St., Quincy, 617-773-4925, or order at 3mountains.org.

ANN TRIEGER KURLAND

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Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.