Our journey with Honeybush Tea

Our journey with Honeybush Tea started in 1994, when our family moved from the Eastern Cape to the Western Cape Province of South Africa. We were merely weeks into settling on our farm in the Overberg district when the first Honeybush Tea plants were planted. We started off with a main breeding plantation block, as very little was known at that stage about what Honeybush Tea’s ecological preferences are, as well the general usefulness to the tea industry. These tests and trials in our initial breeding block were necessary as more than 20 Honeybush Tea species exist. We needed to determine which Honeybush Tea species prefer our climate to determine which species we would plant on a larger scale.

At present, we have approximately 60 hectares of prime Honeybush Tea in production, emanating from seeds harvested in the initial mother block. Following a careful breeding programme, we continually select the plants most desirable from a growth perspective. Plants were selected for its fine and lush growth habit, which we prefer when making our tea. This breeding programme ensures that we can farm sustainably to constantly expand our tea fields without having to use seeds harvested from the wild. This breeding programme and our research over the years led to a C. genistoides genotype that is well adapted to harsh weather conditions, is disease resistant and does not require any additional irrigation, besides rain. The seed selection practices during seed harvesting also lead to a well adapted plant that is not adversely influenced by a dramatic drop in rainfall and other climate change conditions. These plants rarely die off, but adapt to lower rainfall depending on the year.