FARMING & PROCESSING
Workshop introduces grading tool to the industry
5 August 2021
Honeybush Project is playing a valuable role in the rolling out of a recently-developed
quality grading system for fermented honeybush tea to the local indigenous tea industry,
primarily to ensure that the research that has gone into it can be put into
The project is
providing funding towards a series of workshops through which professionals in
the South African tea sector, i.e. persons involved in quality control, marketing,
research and development, can learn first-hand how to at
best use the standardised grading system. The DSI/ARC Honeybush Project has
also funded the writing and production of an accompanying user-friendly manual,
the Grading of fermented honeybush tea: an illustrated guide.
system itself was developed by the Department of Food Science, in collaboration
with the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Infruitec-Nietvoorbij. The
research, largely funded by the Department of Agriculture, Western Cape
Government and spearheaded by Prof Lizette Joubert of the ARC, formed part Dr
Brigitte du Preez’s PhD-study at Stellenbosch University.
“The objective is to introduce this
bespoke grading tool to industry role players via tailor-made workshops,
thereby raising the bar of quality control within
this emerging industry,” says Prof Joubert, who is also one of the project
leaders of the DSI/ARC Honeybush Project.
processing companies within the Honeybush tea industry attended the first
workshop, which was held on 15 June 2021. It was held at the Sensory Science Facility
of the Department of Food Science at Stellenbosch University.
to Nina Muller, a sensory science expert at SU, the workshop kicked off with a training
session on the recognition of the major honeybush aroma attributes. For this
purpose, 21 chemical reference standards were used to familiarise the participants
with the respective positive and negative sensory attributes associated with
fermented honeybush tea.
delegates were introduced to the quality grading scorecard, a first for the
honeybush industry! A roundtable discussion was held to align participants in
the scoring of infusion colour and the major aroma and palate attributes.
Round-table discussions on quality grading of honeybush tea (Cyclopia spp.).
participant could also practice the grading of honeybush tea samples using an electronic
version of the scorecard, i.e. an e-scorecard. It is currently
from the industry participants on the e-scorecard was extremely
positive. Participants noted that it is easy to use, and that it would help
them significantly on a day-to-day basis to grade honeybush tea,” says Nina Muller.
also highlighted other advantages of the e-scorecard, such as the
fact that data can be captured automatically, and it allows them to build a sensory
quality database of their company’s portfolio of production batches over time.
Grading of production batches of honeybush tea using the e-scorecard.
workshops for industry role players who participated in the validation of the
grading system is planned for the third term of the year. Dates will depend on
current Covid-19 regulations.
“Further workshops are being
considered for the wider honeybush tea industry in 2022,” adds Prof Joubert.
Industry delegates attending the 1st workshop on the grading of honeybush tea: Front: Shannon van der Watt & Monique Gordon (Cape Natural Tea Products) and Jani van Schoor (Khoisan Tea); Back: Debora van der Merwe (Babylonstoren); Zelbre Rossouw & Ilze Bruwer (Carmien Tea); Nina Joubert (Agulhas Honeybush Tea) and Carlo Adams (Cape Tea Company).