The Headliner for You

Quarterly Newsletter (Jan - Apr) 2015

Issue 6


 Rooibos market proves strong, despite raw materials price announcement

            Shortage of Rooibos raw material, estimated to be at approximately 2000+ tons this year, and subsequent price increases announced earlier this quarter completely surprised most buyers this season. Prices for raw tea increased by 65% in ZAR terms over last year’s pricing. While this creates a most challenging market now, it is meant to push South African farmers to grow more Rooibos Tea to meet the ever-expanding global demand in the near future.

            Says Tobias Gress, GM Khoisan Tea, “While we absorbed some of the increase and, relatively speaking, barely let it affect our pricing for pre-packaged Khoisan Tea ranges, the weaker Euro did not help matters at all. Some of our clients were quite surprised and others ordered in advance anyway, so we’ve seen various reactions.  We do have certain reserves and having anticipated the 2015 supply and demand situation, we worked closely with our farmers to ensure sufficient rooibos raw material for our existing customer base with possibility to cater for some growth in our market share,” Dr Gress says.

            He adds, “It is very important for us to maintain our good relationships with our farmers since in times of undersupply we can be sure to have enough stock. Maintaining good relationships with our contract farmers also adds to the product safety because we have reliable records of the harvests and use of allowable chemicals, for example. We value our loyal base of suppliers and we share our latest research findings and more with them, all in the name of quality Rooibos and best possible supply chains,” he adds. Khoisan Tea sales teams affirm it’s best to order sooner rather than later, especially where bulk loose tea containers are concerned.

            Additionally, the interest for Khoisan Tea pre-packaged, ready Rooibos Tea ranges has also increased. Most companies are seeking beautifully packaged organic rooibos ranges firstly, with (non-organic) conventional flavoured Rooibos Teas coming in a close second.

           We welcome clients who usually order from September onwards for year-end needs to begin placing their orders from June to August already. 


Honeybush and Green Honeybush 2015, good supply

          Khoisan has been exporting Honeybush Tea (Cylcopia intermedia) for nearly 20 years. Honeybush Tea, a ‘sister’ tea to Rooibos Tea and also a naturally caffeine-free, indigenous herbal infusion of South Africa, has a very strong sweet, honey-like taste and a coarser appearance than Rooibos Tea. It is usually enjoyed straight due to its distinct flavour profile, but companies can and do add spices and flavours, as with Rooibos Tea.

         Khoisan Tea’s annual capacity is approx. 200 tons and 2015 pricing is holding steady. “We continue to supply highest quality of wild harvest Honeybush Tea as either a fermented or unfermented (Green) Honeybush Tea. We do not cultivate it so we don’t encroach on any environmental factors nor do we blend it. Every cup of Khoisan Honeybush Tea is as Mother Nature would serve it herself,” says Dr Gress.


Courtesy SAHTA, South African Honeybush Tea Association

         Honeybush Tea can help relieve some menopausal symptoms because Honeybush naturally contains known phytoestrogens. These plant compounds bind to the body's estrogen receptors and can imitate the effect of human estrogen. Scientists in South Africa are also trying to understand how else Honeybush compounds interact in living cells. Visit for more detailed information.


We launch new website -

bolder, stronger and more modern - visit

(News Flash: it replaces

             We streamlined the Khoisan Tea brand, revamped much of our design work and improved almost all of our packaging over the last two years. Our new website completes this process and reflects the strength of our value-added ranges of Rooibos teas, speciality teas and Bourbon Vanilla for the global market, under the Khoisan Tea brand or for private label. Bigger, bolder visuals and informative videos take site visitors through  Khoisan Tea's Rooibos fields and business capacities. The site also gives a step-by-step guide for successful private labeling for teas and vanilla ranges.

            Leigh Ramsay, newly appointed to our sales & marketing team, is the creative force behind the bold new imagery. “We have such unique and modern retail packaging that our website needed to better tell this story. Khoisan uses sleek design but never forgets its South African roots,” she says.

            “We've added two videos to our website which help take international visitors to Rooibos & Honeybush fields at the click of a button. We often get asked where and how Rooibos Tea & Honeybush Tea grow and how these are processed. Our entertaining 10-minute videos take all visitors there. It's very quick and very effective...and helps us show off South Africa's wonderful flora, blue skies and indigenous teas,” she says.


We visit...


Germany – Biofach, Nuremberg

12-14 February 2015

          Peter Schulke, CEO and owner of Khoisan Tea, and Tobias Gress, GM Khoisan Tea, attended the annual German Biofach in mid-February 2015. “The Biofach in Nuremberg has become an important annual visit for us, sort of like a good tradition to visit our German clients,” says Dr Gress. “We spent our time there to personally discuss this year's Rooibos shortage, high prices and exchange rates. It was very good to do this in person and to reserve larger volumes for some clients who choose this business approach with us. We also received many ideas for product development and discussed new partnerships,” he adds. “We were also in Bremen and Hamburg and met with new ingredient & some packaging suppliers to expand our Khoisan ranges in the near future,” he adds.


United Kingdom  – IFE, London

22-25 March 2015  

          Tobias Gress and Leigh Ramsay, who is the newest member of the Khoisan sales team for the UK, USA, Canada and Australian markets since late last year, exhibited at the International Food & Drink Event (IFE) in London recently. Leigh, who comes from a sales and account management background and enjoys spending her spare time in the kitchen as a qualified chef, says, “It is Khoisan Tea’s intention to break into the UK market in the year ahead because the UK market remains a huge consumer of tea, averaging a staggering 165 million cups of tea a day! To that end, Khoisan Tea successfully exhibited at the IFE in London, a first for us. “We met with clients interested in Khoisan’s clean, crisp flavour-profile. Rooibos is already very familiar to the UK audience …the Khoisan Tea range introduces a new distinct flavour profile and package. It will be most novel brand there as we have not yet penetrated that market. We seek exceptional entrepreneurs and distributors to help us sell our ranges there, be it our brand or private label,” said Leigh after returning from the fair. Contact:


We are FLO-ID 4452, visit our Fairtrade fields

         Our Rooibos Fairtrade project began in conjunction with expert farmer, Gerhard Vermaak of Wiedouw Estate, nearly five years ago. Since then, we have successfully sourced  Fairtrade Rooibos Teas from Wiedouw, an organic Rooibos farming project in Vanrhynsdorp known as the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor close to the high- elevated Gifberg mountains in the Western Cape. It is under Wiedouw Estates’ joint body that the Fairtrade premiums are managed.

         Today, we are still working closely with Gerhard and his team to produce some of the best bulk, loose organic Fairtrade Rooibos and Green Fairtrade Rooibos teas on the market. Our Fairtrade capacity is well over 100 tons annually with proceeds of the premiums benefiting labourers in their daily lives. We got together earlier this year and produced a video to tell our story.

         Click on to view the collaboration. We thank all Khoisan Tea Fairtrade Rooibos buyers who make it possible to support both the industry and the people in the fields!   


    Pre-packaged product interest expands in leaps and bounds

           Rooibos, Honeybush, speciality teas and         Bourbon Vanilla ranges easy and attainable

           With a new year comes new initiative. “We are seeing this as businesspeople from all corners of the globe ask us about our brand and even private label opportunities at Khoisan Tea. What makes this possible for so many entrepreneurs and new businesses is that we are flexible in assisting our clients with their needs. We provide clients with packaging solutions and practically deliver these to their door (port). From Rooibos double-chamber or tagless teabags, to loose Honeybush teas in state-of-the art re-sealable ecobags, to high-grade Bourbon Vanilla extracts, vanilla caviar or vanilla sugar and more, we have an extensive product range to offer. Rooibos remains a novelty herbal infusion and so many people are still discovering it in places like China, Taiwan, even some areas of the US and Europe, where Rooibos has actually had a foothold in these markets already,” says Berit Elmau, Khoisan Tea's  international sales, pre-packaged branded and private label concepts in Asia and Scandinavia.

          “We give our clients five distinct points on how to get started, they tell us their dreams and brand ideals ….and we do the rest. Larger volume is key and that means both parties, our clients and Khoisan, are interested in long-term business. Each of our products is available in a variety of formats and/or blends which allows for product expansion at any time. In theory, our clients can grow their ranges with us over several years; their success is our success so we work on establishing a good base product, which becomes the springboard for further branding and sales,” says Berit. Contact


South African Rooibos market remains vital

            South Africans consume approximately 6000 to 7000  tons Rooibos Tea each year. That is half the world’s consumption.

            Janine Adams, Khoisan Tea sales South Africa, confirms  “Our local/national clients seek our products because of our taste. Most of the time, one taste is all it takes and our clients are hooked. Rooibos Tea can have a hay-like, diluted taste if it is a cheaper grade. Ours is always well-rounded, naturally sweet and woody. Once consumers realise this,”  she says, “it's easy and repeat business is our strength.” 

            Janine says most products sell at South African’s leading international airports and the hospitality industry as tourists identify with the high quality and South African novelty. She adds, “South Africans should understand that Rooibos Tea quality can be so much better than what used to be in the market a few years ago. Our Green Rooibos Tea, for example, is currently the greenest and tastiest on the market thanks to our new state-of-the-art factory on our Khoisan farm near Clanwilliam.” Green Rooibos Tea remains the largest growing sector in the Rooibos trade.

           “We welcome new clients who seek a good starter tea and an even better product expansion range, which we have. We offer speciality teas like organic Strawberry Cream Tea, Peppermint Tea and Earl Grey (black tea). We are more than Rooibos Tea on the supermarket shelves. Contact Janine on


Receptionist, front desk secretary & sales support officer, all in one 


          Ever wonder who is on the other end of the telephone line when you call us?

          Rishka Gabier is the friendly voice on the telephone and the first contact at Khoisan.

          Born and bred South African, Rishka is fluent in English and Afrikaans and occasionally works on her best French, German, Chinese and Italian when required. “I enjoy the challenge and I like helping people. Working at Khoisan opens the world to me and selling our healthy teas and delicious vanilla products to fellow South Africans is also always rewarding,” she says.  


Focusing on new European business

                 With approximately 15 years’ experience in the Rooibos industry, Han Meerburg recently joined Khoisan Tea, European bulk & pre-packaged sales, new business. Han will focus on Khoisan products, new sales leads, throughout the northern hemisphere, with a focus on The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and more.

           “My journey in the Rooibos industry has been interesting and rewarding. It has given me the opportunity to travel extensively and to establish great relationships with many people and most tea companies throughout Europe. I personally have always valued Rooibos’ heritage and purposes and am very pleased to have been offered the position to join Khoisan Tea, a company whose concern and attention to quality control and service excellence are of exceptional high standard,” says Han. “I look forward to continue being of service to new tea buyers for Khoisan Tea in Europe. It is our intention and goal to further increase our presence and market share building on Khoisan’s past performance and professional reputation.”

             Although Han was born in The Netherlands, he has lived most of his life (some 50 years) in South Africa and is happy to be working once again in the country where his roots were established. 



6 Gold Street, Northgate Estate, Ysterplaat, 7405, Cape Town, South Africa
+27 (0)21 511 4991

REG NO. 2002/021157/07 - Director: P. Schülke