From the nursery to your teacup ... The processing plant and facilities

Each step in the processing of Cape Honeybush tea is carefully monitored to bring you the finest product available on the market. During the process of cutting, fermenting, drying and sifting, controlled manufacturing practices are strictly adhered to and all steps of the manufacturing process are in line with SGS* organic protocols.

The Nursery

The Cape Honeybush Tea Company has devoted a great deal of time and expertise to the cultivation of our nursery stock. Our plants are grown from cuttings, rather than seedlings. This means that we are able to choose only the finest plants to cultivate for our tea production. Cuttings are carefully selected according to stringent criteria, the most important of which are their ability to resist disease, their ability to regenerate and, indeed, their ability to produce the finest tasting tea.
The Plantation

During the flowering period the bushes are covered in brilliant, deep-yellow flowers, heavily scented with the sweet honey aroma from which the tea acquires its name.
The Cape Honeybush Tea Company obtains the majority of its raw material from its own tea plantations. The plants are harvested once a year during the flowering period, after which they take another 9-12 months to re-grow. The full aroma of the plant is built up in the last three to four months of this cycle.

Processing the tea

Our tea is handled with the greatest care and under very strict hygienic conditions. The fully automated hands-off process ensures consistent quality and production capacity 365 days a year.

The process can be divided into three main steps:
 
Cutting
A speed-controlled conveyor belt feeds a three-bladed rotating cutter, which cuts the tea into fine particles without breaking the structure of the plant.
 
Fermenting
The Honeybush plant is fermented for approximately 24 hours at a temperature of 85°C in stainless steel fermenter/dryer rotary drums. Only pure mountain spring water is added during this process. The particles are then surrounded by hot clean air, and are dried to a level of 8% humidity.
 
Sifting
An air pump blows the tea from the fermentation drums onto three sifters, sorting the tea into three grades: coarse, fine and super-fine.