Mandela Tea: cultivation
The honeybush plant Cyclopia longifolia is probably named for the yellow, honey-scented flowers that cover the bushes in spring. Cyclopia longifolia is one of 23 known honeybush species that are all members of the same genus, some preferring to grow in sandy, coastal areas, others on cool and moist mountain slopes.
We cultivate Cyclopia longifolia plants at our Kleinberg and Kurland Estates in The Crags, Plettenberg Bay. The entire plant – shoots, leaves and twigs – is used in the production of honeybush tea. Once it’s time to harvest the plants, workers gather the honeybush tea in bundles, which are transported to a processing plant. Here, it’s fermented to develop its characteristic flavour and colour, then dried, and graded for packaging.
Our decision to cultivate Cyclopia longifolia in the Plettenberg Bay area took into account various factors, principally that the soil conditions at The Crags are best suited for this species. And when the soil is correct, the plant thrives.
In a South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) report in 2011, Cyclopia longifolia was listed as an endangered species. It was then that our company, as a member of the honeybush industry, decided to become part of the solution to keep this plant safe from extinction. The ratio of wild to cultivated honeybush is currently estimated at 70/30, with the majority of processed honeybush still being taken from crops that grow in the wild.
The South African Honeybush Tea Association (SAHTA) has stated in various publications that, in order to ensure the thriving future of honeybush plants and all their species, a sustainable rebalance of wild and cultivated production of honeybush tea must occur. We plan to play a large role in this rebalancing process. We cultivate our tea by using only organic production methods and ethical business practices. We understand the importance of liaising with local businesses, and we aim to continue to work with our affiliates to produce and promote our tea.
Cape Tea Co’s mission is to produce and distribute the best organic tea in South Africa. All our tea is grown indigenously in the Western Cape, as will all our tea products in the future. Our motto and ethos is: 100% organic produce; 100% South African tea. We believe in using South African products at every stage of the production process, and Mandela Tea packaged tea products are as proudly South African as the people who helped to bring it them to life.
Mandela Tea is made using only the highest quality tea, and we firmly believe that our organic tea can stand proudly alongside, and even surpass, any other organic tea beverage on today’s market. Not only is Mandela Tea one of the healthiest beverages available, the unique aroma and flavour of each tea in the range make them an instant favourite.