Learn a little more about what Rooibos is, where is comes from and what it does. Rooibos tea is grown in the Cederberg Mountains in the Western Cape, South Africa, along the Rooibos Route that extends from Citrusdal to Clanwilliam.
Meaning ‘red bush’ in Afrikaans, Rooibos has secured its rightful place as a prominent player on the international tea table. As the rest of the world discovered the benefits of this unique tea, there were bold moves from abroad to trademark the name.
South Africans have united in the good news that Rooibos now holds geographic-indicator status, similarly enjoyed by champagne, Colombian coffee and Darjeeling tea. In partnership with the European Union, manufacturers of this liquid gold in South Africa boast ownership of the name. Honeybush tea (and Karoo lamb) benefit from the same trademark protection. A visit to the Rooibos factory and shop in Clanwilliam is an eye-opening affair, where one discovers that 50 per cent of the Rooibos is used locally, and the rest for the international market.
7 facts we found out about this incredible ‘tea’:
- Rooibos is not a true tea, but in fact a herb. A brew is made from the dried leaves of the Rooibos bush and is therefore a herbal infusion, known as a tisane.
- A selling point with Rooibos is its distinctive colour, flavour and aroma, which differentiates it from most other teas. The flavour can be described as slightly sweet and fruity. The amber colour develops naturally during the post-harvest oxidation process, which is brought about by natural enzymes in the plant.
- Due to the fact that Rooibos is in fact an infusion, it is 100% caffeine free. Making it perfect for people who suffer from insomnia, but also meaning that you can drink it any time you like!
- Rooibos is a pure and natural product. It contains no colourants, additives or preservatives, and has no kilojoules.
- It is graded according to colour, flavour and cut length.
- Rooibos contains polyphenols that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimutagenic qualities.
- Rooibos tea can relieve stress, nervous tension and hypertensive conditions. It can also be used as a bronchodilator, which not only relieves respiratory conditions, but reduces blood pressure.
How should you drink it? Well that’s entirely up to you! Have it neat for a refreshing hot drink between meals, or add a little honey and milk to it for a sweet drink at night. This versatile infusion can become anyone’s favourite – it all depends on how you like it.
By Chevaun Roux
Photography by Bruce Tuck