Updated: Jul 17
What You Need To Know About The Popular Tea Variant
Go to any supermarket or grocery store and you probably won’t be able to find a single box of Rooibos Tea left. In 2016 alone, total sales of Rooibos totaled to six billion cups of tea – that’s practically a cup per human being on Earth! This popular tea variant is single-handedly dominating the market, its distinct smoky yet sweet flavor bursting with vanilla and honey notes proving to be popular with consumers.
If you’re a huge fan of Rooibos Tea or looking to try it out, then here are a few things that you should know about this well-known tea variant.
It’s Grown In Cederberg, South Africa
The small, mountainous region of Cederberg, situated in the Western Cape province of South Africa, is the only place in the world where Rooibos is grown. Many countries have tried to cultivate it on their own lands but failed to do so because they lack Cederberg's unique combination of climate, soil, and weather.
The Khoisan People Were The First To Harvest And Use It
Discovered nearly 300 years ago, Rooibos was first harvested by the region’s indigenous bushmen – the Khoisan people – who used the plant as a natural herbal remedy against many illnesses.
Benjamin Ginsberg Is The Father Of Commercial Rooibos Tea
Benjamin Ginsberg, a Russian immigrant and businessman, was the first to commercialize Rooibos. In 1904, he started buying the plant from harvesters and sold it to customers from all over the country. He called it “Mountain Tea” and marketed it as an herbal alternative to tea. Ginsberg and his practice of oxidizing the plant is the reason for the beverage’s distinct mahogany red color.
A Mother With A Sick Baby Skyrocketed Its Fame
In 1968, Dr. Annetjie Theron, a South African mother whose infant suffered from allergies, published a book titled “Allergies: An Amazing Discovery.” In it, she claimed that Rooibos had managed to soothe her baby’s colic. More and more experts began to study the tea’s antioxidants and benefits, paving the way for the popularity that Rooibos Tea enjoys today.
They Take 18 Months To Harvest
Rooibos seeds are usually planted around February or March and harvested 18 months later. Around three to four crops can be harvested from a single plantation. After between four to seven years of annual Rooibos harvests, the land is usually planted with a rotation crop – oftentimes oats – for about one to three years to allow its nutrients to return.
They Have A Ton Of Benefits
Rooibos Tea is renowned for its whole slew of health benefits. It contains antioxidants that have been linked to boosting heart health, as well as reducing the risk of cancer. It’s also commonly drunk by those looking to lose weight or manage their diabetes and by those who want natural remedies to treat their insomnia, colic, and digestive problems.
It Can Be Enjoyed Hot Or Cold
Much like Black Tea, Rooibos can be enjoyed either hot or cold. For a great-tasting cup, use only eight ounces of hot water per tea bag or a teaspoon of loose leaves. Steep the tea for at least five minutes before serving. Some choose to add sugar to make their drink even sweeter while others prefer using honey or milk.