Kib, from seed to cup

Kib, from seed to cup

Our herbs start as seedlings in a bed of rich soil, where they spend eight weeks just getting their legs (roots) under them.

Once they’re fortified by lots of gentle sunshine and watering, our seedlings are ready for the big show. Partner farmers like Seman then plant the tulsi on their farms around Butajira, Ethiopia. 

Seman is an expert at growing tulsi. He grows his tulsi alongside a diverse set of crops in a ‘food forest’ that includes spearmint, peppermint, local bananas, and even a hive of bees.

Seman’s tulsi plants need another 8 weeks on his spring-fed fields to put down their roots and thrive. Then they’re ready for a haircut. Seman and his family trim off the leaves and buds of the tulsi and send them on a 30-minute Bajaj (tuktuk) ride to our drying facilities in the center of Butajira.

That’s where Gudina and his team take over. As soon as the tulsi hops off the Bajaj, they weigh it, inspect it, and remove any unwanted stems. Stems and other unused parts get a new life in the compost pile while the leaves and buds head to our drying room for 24-48 hours of 35 degree heat (don’t worry, it’s a dry heat). 

By the time the tulsi has made its way to the drying room, its sweet smell will have pretty well filled our compound.

All dried and packed in paper sacks, Seman’s tulsi is then shipped to the UK, where our partners at Organic Herb Trading mix and formulate our blends. The herbs then head to Gloucester to be packed in their tea bags and boxes, before they make their final journey to you and your cup. 

But long before you’re sipping that cup of Kib cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, comes a crucial step: we pay Seman for his herbs. We pay our partner farmers every two weeks at above-market prices. Our tulsi price, for example, is roughly twice that of the local market. Compared to grains like maize that Seman could harvest once or twice a year, herbs like tulsi give him a consistent source of income throughout the year.

Lots of hands work hard to put Kib in your cup. We know you’ll taste that hard work—because what grows around comes around.