Tea was first introduced in Kenya in 1903 and was planted in present-day Limuru. Commercialisation of tea started in 1924 by Malcolm Fyers Bell, who was sent out by Brooke Bonds to start the first commercial estates. Since then the nation has become a major producer of black tea. Kenya is now the third largest global producer, after China and India, and is now the largest exporter of tea to the United Kingdom. 

Most Kenyan tea is grown in the highlands west of the Rift Valley, at high altitudes between 1500 to 2700 meters. Kericho region, in particular, is where most of the large-scale tea plantations are found. Other tea farming also takes place in the highlands east of the Rift Valley as well as in central Kenya.

Much of the tea grown in Kenya is processed using the crush, tear, curl method, making it suitable for use in blends popular in most black-tea markets, including India, Britain and North America. CTC tea has a full flavour. Its strong, bold taste means it is frequently used as a base for Indian tea blends including a significant portion of breakfast teas. Higher-quality Kenyan teas are processed using traditional methods (e.g. picking of the tender leaves and bud, then allowed to dry and oxidize).