As she strains tea leaves into miniature rose-gold-plated glass tea cups, the aroma of lemongrass and red honeybush fills the air at Yswara Tea Room at the Maboneng Precinct in central Johannesburg. "Our teas are crushed, hand-rolled and sun-dried, while mass-market teas are an aggregation of other teas from many farms," said founder and owner Swaady Martin-Leke. But the fragrant flavours of one of the fastest-growing African luxury tea brands, which is in its fifth year of operation, may be part of the bigger story of the demise of South Africa's black tea production. According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the gross value of the production of black tea has plummeted from R30.14-million about eight years ago to R5.16-million in the 2016-17 period. The department said there were only two tea growers producing tea out of seven estates, due to less competitiveness with other tea-producing countries, high production costs and low market prices for black tea ...

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