In Summary
  • Mutindi does not sell her sorghum for beer-making. She is among a handful of residents who are championing a new use of sorghum — making ‘tea’.
  • The tea is made from flour obtained from roasted sorghum grains. Serendo, an improved sorghum variety that thrives in arid and semi-arid regions, is the most suitable variety for making the sorghum beverage.
  • Mutindi makes Sh4,000 on a good day by selling the beverage made from a kilo of the flour during market days or farmers’ field days.
  • Though the programme ended in 1996, International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has recently rolled out a new one in the county.

Tucked in a man-made forest, Christine Mutindi’s farmland resembles any other on the outskirts of Mbumbuni township in Makueni County.

The farm hosts sorghum, a crop that has turned out to be the new gold in semi-arid areas, thanks to its drought-resistant quality and ready market from brewers.

However, Mutindi does not sell her sorghum for beer-making. She is among a handful of residents who are championing a new use of sorghum — making ‘tea’.

A Seeds of Gold team finds her winnowing the grain. “Over the years, we have been using sorghum flour to make porridge or ugali after blending it with maize flour. But we have now learnt to use it to make ‘sorghum tea’, which we locally call Kyai kya muvya,” she says.

The tea is made from flour obtained from roasted sorghum grains. Serendo, an improved sorghum variety that thrives in arid and semi-arid regions, is the most suitable variety for making the sorghum beverage.

“To make the tea, we start with sorting grains and roasting them on a pan until they turn golden brown. We then grind them into fine flour on a traditional grinding stone. The flour is then used to make the tea,” explains Mutindi.

One adds a spoonful of the flour to a cup of hot water mixed with milk, stirs and sieves out the particles to end up with a perfect beverage that has the same physical features as tea.

Mutindi makes Sh4,000 on a good day by selling the beverage made from a kilo of the flour during market days or farmers’ field days.

A cup of the beverage goes for Sh50. Besides the curious customers, the beverage is highly suitable for those who have been barred from taking tea for medical reasons.

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