Botanist, Charl Thunburg (1743-1828), also known as “the father of South African botany, first reported on the use of Rooibos tea. But it was only in 1902 that production started. During the 1930’s the value of the Rooibos tea was realized and from then it became the industry it is today.
Rooibos or the scientific name, Aspalathus linearis, is a shrubby, bushy plant that is part of South Africa’s fynbos and grown in the harsh conditions of the Cedarberg region. The temperatures can range from frozen in winter to above 40°C in summer. Rooibos depends on winter rain to grow, and no irrigation is done. During October, the Rooibos bush makes small yellow flowers.
Rooibos crop is harvested by hand once a year between January and March. The branches are cut using sickles and then bound into bundles. At the farm processing facility, the bundles are sorted and then cut into 2 to 5 mm. The freshly cut tea is then placed in heaps in the tea-sweat area.
This process turns the green Rooibos tea into a reddish amber colour and the wonderful flavour and sweet distinctive aroma of Rooibos is unleashed. After the sweating process, the fermented Rooibos is spread out across the tea court to dry 100%, naturally in the hot African sun.
Astonishing the cutting, fermenting and drying processes are completed in less than 24 hours!
Homemade Rooibos Iced Tea
Add 4 Rooibos Tea bags to 1 litre boiling water. Brew until its strong. Remove bags.
While still hot add the following:
- peel from 1 lemon
- About 4 cm piece of ginger peeled and sliced
- a few mint leaves.
- add sweetness with 2 teaspoons of honey
- Add the juice of 1 lemon or orange
Allow to cool down and place in the fridge until you are ready to use it. If you leave the ginger, lemon and mint in the tea the flavour will strengthen over time. If you like a mild taste remove the ingredients when its cooled down. Fill the glasses with ice cubes and enjoy on a hot summer day.
Rooibos is known for its health benefits, e.g. its rich in calcium, caffeine free, relieves stress and nervous tension. Rooibos can be drunk hot or cold and it is an excellent thirst quencher and refreshing drink. Serve Rooibos tea with sugar, honey or a slice of lemon.
Visit our Café at Safari Ostrich Farm for Rooibos Tea to take home. We have a verity of natural or flavoured Rooibos Tea.