I want to talk about a hot drink that when drunk makes all the rain clouds go away. When something bad happens who ever said “oh no! I’ll go make you a cup of coffee.” Yeah, no one said that, ever. What they say is I’ll make you a cup of tea, that wonderful sweet elixir. Maybe I’m the only one, but I didn’t know about the massive amount of tea plantations in Africa (head hung in shame!) I found out because I came across Yswara Tea in the latest issue of Wanted Magazine (who now have a new online presence, check it out here). Swaady Martin founded Yswara Tea in 2012. As an entrepreneur, Swaady Martin “has a passion for African culture and heritage.” Yswara tea is African in origin, nature and tradition. It has become a “growing homegrown African global luxury brand.”
I want to tell you their story. It’s a story of Africa and of tea.
“Our precious leaves are harvested by farmers whose bond with the earth is as natural as breathing.”
Yawara tea aims to share with the world the story of Africa. A story that shows the continent’s beauty and heritage. Each tea leaf is grown on African soil and ethically sourced. The teas pay tribute to African elegance and refinement. The finest buds, leaves and spices are blended to ensure that the tea is not just about drinking it, but also tasting a piece of their story. If you have experienced a proper tea ceremony you will know the ritual behind each cup. Each cup is a process, a story from growth, picking, drying, blending and finally to drinking. Yswara embodies the African culture within this process. The way they describe their product it seems so precious, and ancient. A tradition that I didn’t even know existed in Africa. I do know I want to experience it, though.
Since the beginning of time African cultures have treasured plants and their healing powers. They have respected and used these plants for centuries. It’s a rare and precious knowledge. Yswara uses this ancient knowledge from locals all over Africa to collect and preserve the world’s largest selection of African teas. Each leaf is hand-picked, sun-dried and then processed using only natural methods. Swaady Martin creates and refines each blend herself, with the help of her all-female team. (Who runs the world? Girls!).
The art of cultivating and conserving plants has been handed down for generations in African cultures. These plants have been traditionally preserved so that their essence and quality are kept intact. These plants are used by Yswara to create blends and taste that respect and preserve these traditions. There are 27 varieties of loose-leaf teas. The leaves come from all over Africa like South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rwanda, Malawi, and Chad. Each collection comes with a story. Some are about African values. Others have stories of the Seven Wonders of Africa. And some are of a strong African female or male. Each story is embodied in the blend of tea. The teas are packaged in beautiful copper tins that resemble urns, preserving the stories and traditions within them.
The philosophy of Yswara is based on Ubuntu “I am because we are”. This is the driving force behind the brand. It follows an inclusive luxury business model. This means all members of the supply chain are beneficiaries of the economic value the business brings in. Yswara bases its business practices on kinship, compassion, dignity, harmony and most of all humanity. They provide a meaningful income to their suppliers and help them expand their market and demand for their product. Yswara focuses on helping women suppliers the most.
I think companies like Yswara, with forward thinking entrepreneurs behind them, will help this world come right again. The luxury industry is not synonymous with human rights or giving back to the communities that produce their products. But, with entrepreneurs like Swaady Martin setting this standard, I believe major brands will start to rethink their business model. A lot have already. Here’s to a compassionate luxury industry.
Now, who’s coming over for tea?
All images courtesy of Yswara.com and copyright © Yswara