#WomensMonth: Women and tea - a match made in heaven
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There is something about a cup of tea that brings together all kinds of women; whether in sad- or happy times.
In celebration of Women’s Month, I spoke with two tea enthusiasts about trends, flavours and why we love tea so much.
The humble tea leaf has come a long way, and now you can enjoy a gourmet cup with your gourmet meal.
Yswara tea is proof that tea can be every bit as sophisticated and luxurious than any other drink.
The locally produced tea is grown on the African continent, hand-picked and then hand-processed, which is what makes it a gourmet artisanal tea.
“The other ingredients in our blends are also predominantly grown and sourced within the African continent, and the blends themselves are unique and stand out,” says Yswara general manager, Charlene Jordaan.
On their website, Yswara founder, Swaady Martin says tea is her relaxation and meditation - a statement I’m sure many of us can relate to.
While the tea industry has seen remarkable growth, Jordaan says their focus is on artisanal, handmade teas.
Jordaan says their flavour blends are determined by the season and personal preference.
“In winter, our clients want a tea that is “warm” in flavours, like our Pole, which is a spicy Chai or our Omoluabi, which is a rooibos, chocolate and whisky blend,” she says.
“During summer, the floral fruity teas are again very popular like our Makeda which is a rooibos, strawberry and Champagne blend.
Rooibos tea is a proudly South African drink which has “skyrocketed” in popularity in the last four years.
Adel Du Toit, spokesperson for the South African Rooibos Council, says tea has played a huge role in empowering women, locally and around the world.
“With us celebrating Women’s Month this month, unfortunately, the role of women in tea commerce has not been told very well because of the place where we found ourselves,” she says.
“In the early 1700s, Mary Tuke, from the UK was the first one to establish a chain of tea stores very much like the Starbucks we have today.
"She got a lot of resistance from the men because they didn’t think she was doing the most wonderful thing.
“Of course over many cups of tea women had lots of conversations and they used tea gatherings to mobilise the women’s movement.”
In South Africa, Du Toit says tea played an important role in women moving forward in society.
“We should also celebrate the Mother of rooibos, Dr Annique (Annekie) Theron, who 50 years ago made the amazing discovery of Rooibos’ healing properties.
“She also had lots of opposition, but that didn’t stop her,” says Du Toit.
She says since the introduction of rooibos to the rest of the world, the tea has become very popular in a younger market.
“Rooibos has come to the forefront after Starbucks in the UK included rooibos into their Spring menu in their 900 stores around the country. They now have three rooibos flavoured lattes.”
Du Toit says rooibos has become a hit among youngsters as they are becoming more health conscious.
“Rooibos tea is even entering into other drinks like gin, and this means that there is a need and a desire as people are just enjoying a normal cup of rooibos tea,” Du Toit concludes.