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A unique South African tradition for over 70 yearsThere is only one place in the world where Rooibos Tea is cultivated - the Cederberg area, approx. 250km north of Cape Town, in South Africa. It was the folk living in this area at the turn of the century who discovered that the fine, needle-like leaves of the bush ´Aspalatus Linearis´ made a refreshing hot drink. Quick to realise the marketing potential of this ´mountain-tea´, a Russian immigrant, Benjamin Ginsberg, whose family had been in the tea industry for generations, started packing and selling this tea. The popularity and demand for this unique tasting tea grew so much that in the 1930´s Dr P Le Fras Nortier started cultivating the tea in plantations. Today Rooibos sells more than 3 million kilograms per year and is firmly established in the international market. It has proven so popular that it is exported to 135 countries such as Germany, Israel, America, Holland, Switzerland, England and even Japan - a country renowned for the almost sacred art of tea and its health consciousness.
read more about health effects and general info
The production of Rooibos TeaThe Rooibos farmer can expect his first harvest after one-and-a-half years. After three years the bushes will be in full production. Harvest time is during the summer and early autumn. Branches are cut by hand and transported to the certified production lines where they are cut to pieces of about 5 mm. Next, the tea is wet thoroughly and bruised. The tea is then placed in fermentation heaps and allowed to sweat or ferment for 8 to 24 hours. After this the tea is dried in the sun on special yards. The dried teas are then sifted and delivered to the Rooibos Tea Board at Clanwilliam. Samples are tested by the Board for quality control and grading.
The tea is graded into three categories - Super, Choice and Standard. After grading, the tea is sifted again to clean it of particles and dust. The different grades are then stored separately. The quality of Rooibos Tea is the most important aim of the Board. Therefore all Rooibos Tea is evaluated according to taste, flavour and colour. The tea is also subjected to a very strict micro-biological test before it is sent to the distributors. The Rooibos Tea emblem is your guarantee of the tea’s quality.
How to prepare the perfect cup of tea
The secret behind a good cup of Rooibos is simple - boiling water. First rinse the teapot with boiling water. Then add teabags or loose leaves. Pour the boiling water into the pot and keep it warm. Ideally a teapot that doesn’t cool too fast should be used.
1 - Water must be boiling hot.
2 - Use tea bags or loose tea leaves.
3 - Use a fine tea strainer for tea leaves.
4 - Drink black or add hot or cold milk and sugar, or a slice of lemon, or honey.
Natural versatility with Rooibos
One of the reasons why Rooibos is so unique is because of its versatility. Unlike other teas, Rooibos offers a variety of uses in the home. You can bake with it, use it for punches, exotic cocktails, long refreshing soft drinks - and because of its natural ingredients, it´s extremely good for you too.
The dangers of caffeine and tannin
Unlike other teas, Rooibos contains absolutely no caffeine and very little tannin. Caffeine is extremely harmful to the body as it overstimulates the central nervous system and can promote insomnia, tension, stress, indigestion, acidity, gout, rheumatism, high blood pressure and skin disorders. Caffeine affects the body’s metabolism and is especially harmful to the development of children and babies. Tannin has a harmful effect as it combines with the proteins and iron taken in with food - causing protein and iron deficiencies. Not only does Rooibos contain far less tannin than ordinary tea - 1% compared to 12% - but the little tannin that is in Rooibos belongs to a far less harmful category.
Cook up a tasty treat with Rooibos
Apart from adding taste to everything you cook, Rooibos actually makes your meals healthier too. Rooibos has a natural sweet taste - so you don´t have to add sugar to your cooking. And because Rooibos contains lots of minerals and vitamins, it also lifts the nutrient level of the meal.
Rooibos Tea is available in various packages and flavours - for more information please have a look at the Tea Order page