Mail & Guardian

African tea goes posh

14 Dec 2012 00:00 | Zaza Motha

Yswara’s most treasured tea costs about R2 000 for 100g.

Yswara’s most treasured tea costs about R2 000 for 100g.

Yswara offers a curated experience of fine and rare African teas as well as tea accessories and fine-living goods.

“Tea is the world’s second-most consumed beverage,” says Côte d’Ivoire-born founder and owner Swaady Martin-Leke. She was frustrated that only between 5% and 10% of the final packaged tea value is retained on the continent, yet tea is an abundant resource in Africa.

“Yswara will be grown solely on African soil and will keep 90% of the value in Africa,” says Martin-Leke.

The brand’s loose-leaf tea range features 23 different teas that form part of the Seven Wonders of Africa, African Queens and Kingdoms of Africa collections. Each tea has an African story attached to it and is named after an African place, queen or kingdom.

The teas are mainly sourced from Malawi, Kenya and Rwanda;  the rooibos originates from South Africa, the hibiscus from Nigeria and Sudan and the rose tea’s from Egypt.

Yswara’s signature tea, named the Or des Anges, is a fusion of edible 22-carat gold petals and Malawian peony white tea. Because it is the brand’s most treasured tea, expect to pay about R2 000 for 100g.

Not all their teas are priced out of the stratosphere although they are far from cheap. The Thyolo Slopes, a spice-rich tea from the Thyolo Mountains in Malawi, costs R300 for 100g and the Mount Mulanje, a spicy oolong tea with a peach flavour, is similarly priced. Other infusions include the Abla Pokou tea from Côte d’Ivoire, containing vanilla honeybush, lemongrass and liquorice root, and the Askia of Songhai tea, a ginger and verbena blend with hints of lemon myrtle and the intensity of orange zest.

The brand is available at a pop-up store at Hyde Park Corner, the Wish Collection in Sandton City and online. Yswara’s flagship store will open next year on Fourth Avenue in Parkhurst.

Visit or call 011 325 5685

View the original online publication here