Tea production in Kenya dates back to around 1924. Unlike India and Sri Lanka, where most tea is grown on large plantations, 60% of Kenya's tea is grown on small plots. The farmers grow the tea on a small scale and the processing of the tea is arranged by the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA). The KTDA has 66 tea factories and there are more than 500,000 smallholder tea farmers in Kenya.
Kenya is on the equator and has a tropical climate, with steppes and desert in the low-lying areas and forests in the higher areas. Kenya's tea regions are mainly concentrated in the higher areas due to the greater rainfall and cooler climate. Although tea is 95% bulk produced in Kenya, making specialty tea is on the rise. Higher quality Kenyan teas are processed in a traditional way and there are often highly sought after "single origin" whole-leaf teas. Multinationals are increasingly using automated processes to process the tea, small plantations still pick and process the tea by hand.