Bees pioneer new ‘honey tea’ blend

20 November 2018

School boy looking at bee

A brand new beverage of tea, honey and botanicals is being pioneered in Wales.

Cardiff University is joining forces with Welsh Brew Tea and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to combine honey with the health promoting properties of tea.

An iconic Welsh brand established for over 30 years, Swansea-based Welsh Brew Tea has created a unique blend of African and Indian teas specifically blended to complement Welsh water, and a range of speciality teas and infusions.

“We are delighted to be teaming up with Professor Les Baillie and his @pharmabees team at Cardiff University to develop an entirely new premium beverage that will enhance our range of high-quality teas,” said the company’s managing director and founder, Alan Wenden.

School children looking at bee hive

“Innovation in tea production, and the search for new ideas and tastes, led us to found the company twenty years ago, and is still its driving force today. The project is a nice example of the university working with Welsh industry to develop a product based on the natural bounty of Wales, supporting the wellbeing of the people of Wales.”

The bees work for Cardiff University’s award-winning @pharmabees project, which aims to develop a Manuka-style honey to treat antibiotic resistant hospital pathogens.

Professor Les Baillie, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said: “After water, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world. In addition to making us feel good, tea is thought to help reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis and diabetes. In laboratory studies, tea has revealed its ability to kill hospital superbugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

“Imagine the further benefits which could be obtained by combining tea with natural honey and medicinal plants. Honey has been used for thousands of years to treat a range of conditions, including the common cold”.

Les Baillie

Our partnership with Welsh Brew Tea is all part of our work to develop honey with similar bug-killing powers to that of New Zealand’s Manuka honey and its antibacterial properties, which are due to natural compounds donated by the plants on which the bees fed to make the honey.

Professor Les Baillie, Professor of Microbiology

Robyn Davies, Head of Innovation at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said: “We are delighted to add this project to our portfolio of innovations that support both the health and wealth of Wales.”

The Welsh Brew project is supported by the South East Wales Academic Health Science Partnership and a Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS 2), funded by European Social Funds (ESF) through Welsh Government with the aim of linking companies with academic expertise to develop new products.

It follows the successful launch of honey beer in 2017 when Cardiff teamed up with Bridgend’s BangOn Brewery.

The Pharmabees bee-friendly campus project scooped the Sustainability award at the Guardian University Awards 2017. It also supports Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) training across the city of Cardiff.

For more information visit the School webpages.