Honeybush Tea or Cyclopia intermedia is indigenous to the cape of South Africa. I like to think of it as a sort of cousin to Rooibos!
Like Rooibos, we make an herbal tea with a pleasant, mildly sweet taste. Honeybush Tea is very popular at the Local Tea Company Carriagehouse at Selby Gardens. We offer 2 varieties; Organic Honeybush and Chocolate Honeybush. You should try both, especially if you are looking for a caffeine-free substitute for ‘true tea’ (Camellia sinensis). For instance, I drink honeybush as a complement to my tea drinking habits!
Like most teas, honeybush history can be traced back to Dutch and British trading. Established in 1652, Cape Town was a supply base for the Dutch East India Company. They traded in Indian tea and Southeast Asian spices.
Botanists began cataloging the Cape region’s rich flora, and the honeybush plant was noted in botanical literature. The native Khoisan or Bushmen treated coughs and other upper respiratory symptoms associated with infections with honeybush tea.
The honeybush plant is a shrub of the Fabaceae family and grows in the fynbos botanical zone. Bound by mountains, this narrow region is along the coast. Fynbos is Dutch for ‘fine-leaved plants’ and is characterized by woody plants with small, leathery leaves. The honeybush plant is easily recognized from the sweetly scented, bright yellow flowers and needle-like leaves.
Besides great taste, a sort of woodsy, cedar-like flavor, Honeybush has some extraordinary health benefits. Pinitol is a modified sugar present in the leaves of some legume plants. This is an expectorant and helps with coughs and phlegm. Pinitol can also lower blood sugar levels and may increase the effects of insulin.
Honeybush is under consideration as a treatment for diabetes! It would be good to have something so natural to help with such a prevalent disease. I have read Pinitol helps with acid reflux. We have a few customers who have reported relief drinking honeybush. The flavones and isoflavones of honeybush are similar to those in soy, another leguminous plant. And used to treat menopausal symptoms. That covers quite a lot of the population who should be drinking this tea!
Prepare Honeybush tea like you prepare all other teas or herbal infusions. Use boiling water and infuse for as long as you want, though at least several minutes. The lack of caffeine makes honeybush especially suited for nighttime consumption. The tea has a reputation as a calming beverage. However, I love drinking honeybush at Local Tea Company, too! The tannin content is very low, so that you will find honeybush, a mild, soft, and very drinkable tea.
And did I mention there is a chocolate version? Chocoholics love our Chocolate Honeybush. Please do not expect a cup of hot chocolate. Rather a delicate aroma of chocolate with a definite caramel aftertaste along with a bit of floral balance from the added rose petals. Desert without the calories, SPECTACULAR!
Some customers drink both versions of honeybush with milk. I find a bit of local honey (from the Sarasota Farmer’s Market) brings out a natural sweetness in Organic Honeybush, and when iced is very thirst-quenching. The Chocolate Honeybush seems to be more popular as a hot drink.
The Gift of Tea
At Local Tea Company, we have a great selection of tea to suit many different tastes. Some of our holiday favorites are listed at the end of this post with links to our online shop. Whatever your gift choice, I believe there are many extraordinary reasons to be excited about both giving and receiving TEA…
- The anticipation of opening the packet and discovering the appearance of the leaf,
- Inhaling the special aroma that loose tea releases,
- Watching the magic of leaves dancing in the pot,
- The delicious color and flavor in the cup,
- Sitting down, letting go of all the stress in your body (which we seem to create in great quantities, especially at this time of the year!),
- And finally, Life is too short to drink bad tea.
Making tea is an act to be shared with someone special, presented to a group of friends, or enjoyed completely alone. I cannot think of any other item that is so simple, yet so complex, cost-effective, and enjoyable. You are also giving the gift of health and well being to your loved ones. Here is a post with 5 Things to Remember when Gifting Tea.
If you have no tea lovers in your life, then give yourself the gift of tea. YOU deserve it!
Some of our holiday favorites include Chocolate Honeybush, Organic Red Berries, and Cochin Masala Chai. For a more relaxing tea, perfect for evenings, there is Organic Honeybush. Also, check out the “Celebrate Sarasota” gift deal, 4 herbal teas inspired by Local Treasures: Selby Gardens, Van Wezel, Ringling Museum, and Siesta Key Beach.
On behalf of all at Local Tea Company, I would like to wish all our tea followers a Very Merry Christmas and a TEArrific New Year. We appreciate your business and hope you continue to enjoy our teas in 2010.
No matter where you are or what you are planning to do during this special season, please make time to drink some tea and feel the benefits. I drink to you and yours.
Cheers and all the best to everyone.