Rakkasan’s Rukeri Black and Blue Ridge Southern Pottery’s Dixie Dogwood

Dixie Dogwood

Like many of the mid-century dishes I admire, a number of them are associated with my two grandmothers.  The cup is Blue Ridge Southern Pottery’s Dixie Dogwood, a “Joni original.”  The single lime green flower appeared on each dish.  It debuted in 1951 based on the first newspapers advertisements for the design, and a service for 4 retailed at $9.95, although numerous special offers abounded for reduced prices after a minimum purchase of some kind.  The last year I find this design in the newspapers is 1961, and thereafter, a different design called Dixie Dogwood by MarCrest begins to appear.

Rukeri black

Today’s tea is Rakkasan’s Rukeri Black, from Rwanda.  My friend Jane sent me Rukeri Black in the sampler pack she gifted me with, and at the time, I thought I did not fancy it as much as some of the others.  Today, I noted it is smoother than I recall, and while I detect no obvious special aromas or flavors, it is a good sipping tea, lovely with my granola salty/sweet combo protein bar for a late-morning pick-me-up break.  Here’s what Rakkasan says about the tea origins, which definitely speaks to my listening:

Rwanda produces only one percent of the world’s tea, but its fertile volcanic soil and temperate climate make it some of the finest. Rwanda’s economy suffered a great deal during the country’s civil conflict in the 1990s, but tea has played a major role in its recovery.

Our Rwandan teas are grown in the Rukeri Valley at an elevation of 5,500 to 6,500 feet. The estate from which we import was the first facility in Rwanda to introduce environmentally-friendly policies like waste recycling. It has been at the forefront of banning child labor and supporting workers’ rights and was also the first private company in Rwanda to sign a collective bargaining agreement with its workers. The factory employs sustainable agricultural practices, has an organic section, is a participant in the Ethical Tea Partnership, and the estate is Rainforest Alliance Certified.™ It is also Fair Trade certified, which means premiums and a percentage of the profits are reinvested in the local community.

Rukeri leaves

The leaves are smaller than the teas from Nepal or China, and I am unsure if it is difference in tea bush, or processing.  The steeped leaves have a waft of apple however!

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8 Responses to Rakkasan’s Rukeri Black and Blue Ridge Southern Pottery’s Dixie Dogwood

  1. Beth says:

    What a sweet pattern – the dogwood almost looks hand painted and apparently they were. I did a quick search of the company and found “The underglaze technique made the decorations more durable, and while basic patterns were reused consistently, the fact that each piece was hand-painted means that no two pieces are exactly alike. ” I like the tea company’s philosophy, too. Fair Trade is always best.


    • Suzassippi says:

      True on all accounts. The pottery company apparently used artists to paint the designs, and all the advertisements indicated “hand-painted.” I wonder what happened between the year when the design changed—guess Blue Ridge had not patented the design? I have the pattern in the creamer that I obtained from Grandma; I will compare the pieces, but one can only wash so many dust-covered dishes in one day, ya know?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. janebye says:

    I love that cup and the info about the tea, which has grown on me as well. It’s still not my fave but I don’t mind it. Not sure if that’s a compliment–probably not. But I feel good about supporting the Rwandan growers so it’s okay if it’s not my favorite, right? 🙂 I have one cup from my Grandmom’s house but I never drink tea from it as it is displayed in my living room. Now I am thinking I want to start using it and reminiscing about Grandmom. I am getting melancholy during this pandemic. xoxo


    • Suzassippi says:

      I remember that cup, and the little arrangement you have had with it in various of your houses. I think we all have the melancholia right now. I do like the feeling of supporting people in Rwanda even if indirectly. I have also taken to looking up these sites on the map to see where they are located. It is quite fun, and some will pull up relatively close and others are nothing but mountains and greenery visible.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. peggyjoan42 says:

    Beautiful cup. The dogwood pattern is gorgeous. The dogwood trees are in bloom here in Arkansas. They are one of my favorite flowers.


    • Suzassippi says:

      I love dogwood, and to my delight, the first spring here as I was walking down the drive to get the mail, I looked over and saw tiny dogwood blooms on a small tree, and said out loud, “A dogwood tree! I have a dogwood tree!” Sadly, it did not bloom again after that year and must have died. It was in the jumble of large trees in the wooded area on the opposite side of our yard.


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