New pamphlet takes
stock of some honeybush diseases
brochure about honeybush diseases, including advice on how to control these
diseases, was published by the ARC in January 2021.
Click HERE to download the complete brochure
South Africa has about 200 hectares of commercial honeybush plantations, but the bulk of the honeybush crop is still harvested from wild-growing plants, especially
Cyclopia intermedia ("bergtee" or "mountain tea"). A small, but growing number of farmers grow other species commercially, including
Cyclopia subternata ("vleitee" or "swamp tea"),
C. longifolia and
C. genistoides ("kustee" or "coastal tea", also known as "Cape tea").
At harvest time, growers cut the shoots (leaves and twigs) of the plant and gather the honeybush branches in bundles. Processing starts when the plant material is finely chopped, and then placed in "fermentation" tanks for oxidation at high temperatures. A little bit of water is sometimes added to improve the colour uniformity of the plant material. During "fermentation" the chopped material oxidises and develops the unique flavour and brown colour of the brew.
After fermentation, the tea is dried, sieved, graded for quality and packaged. The process of making 'green' honeybush tea is very similar to that of the regular tea, except that the fermentation (or oxidation) step is skipped. The plant material is dried straight after shredding to prevent oxidation and to retain high levels of antioxidants. This is why green honeybush is preferred for production of nutraceutical extracts.
South Africa exports about 250 tonnes of processed honeybush tea products annually to countries in Europe, Northern America and Asia.