Origin & Ingredients
Honeybush is an evergreen shrub that grows in the eastern Cape of South Africa. There are several different subspecies of honeybush, which tend to vary quite dramatically. Harvested in small lots, honeybush can be minty or menthol. Others a little closer to tobacco. We look for a subspecies known as Cyclopia intermedia, whose flavor is sweet, with a floral and fruity nature, almost clover-like. As for color, honeybush can get pretty dark, although we focus on its sweetness, not color.
As the name implies, it has a distinctly honey-like aroma. Hand-harvested in September and October, the slender leaves and flowers are cut to release their oxidizing enzymes, then allowed to oxidize in the sun. Naturally caffeine free, honeybush has a sweet, peachy flavor and a pinkish golden hue in the cup.
Honeybush grows natively in sandy areas Northwest of Cape Town in South Africa, near Clanwilliam. Although there have been attempts at cultivating and farming honeybush, most species are found and harvested in nature, also known as wildcrafting. Honeybush is known to be high in antioxidants and minerals and vitamins, similar to rooibos.
Much like its neighbor rooibos, we were introduced to honeybush through our long-time friend and mentor Hugh Lamond. Steve and Hugh spent time together in South Africa, tasting different batches and subspecies grown in different areas to determine what we like best.
In Our Teas
With dozens of various subspecies, we search for the one with a distinct floral sweetness to include in our blends. Honeybush plays a large role in tandem with rooibos in our Red Nectar. In addition, that floral sweetness is a wonderful addition to many blends. For example, honeybush has made an appearance in several limited edition products such as High Desert Mint (a peppermint blend created for Chef’s Week in 2016) and Astoriamaro, our Maker’s Series 004 created in collaboration with Bull in China.