This is a new feature for the website, and the plan is that each month we will feature a favourite brew, or a new brew to us, and tell you absolutely everything we can about it. We will be offering a discount on all online orders of the featured brew too 🙂 – just click on the link to take you to the webshop.
Let’s talk Rooibos – and Honeybush
Roobosh, rooeybos, redbush … makes no difference really how you pronounce it, we’re talking about that South African caffeine free herb that’s related to the broom family, so technically a legume – yes, the pea family! The leaves are used to make a herbal tea that has been drunk in South Africa for generations but is now drunk worldwide.
The Latin name is Aspalathus linearis, the linearis part referring to the leaves which are needle like, and straight in growth like the Broom plant.
Rooibos grows in Cederberg which is a small mountainous area of Western Cape Province, South Africa. Generally, the leaves undergo an oxidation (often termed “fermentation” in common tea processing terminology). This process produces the distinctive reddish-brown colour of rooibos and enhances the flavour. Unoxidised “green” rooibos is also produced, but the more demanding production process for green rooibos (similar to the method by which green tea is produced) makes it more expensive than traditional rooibos. It carries a malty and slightly grassy flavour somewhat different from its red counterpart.
Rooibos wasn’t grown commercially until the 1930s, because of problems with seed germination, and also with difficulty finding the tiny seeds. Dr Nortier who set up the famous Clanwilliam farm paid local villagers to collect the seed, reportedly paying £5 per matchbox full of seeds collected. There is a story that an aged Khoi woman found an unusual seed source, after spotting ants dragging the seeds back to their nest – she opened up the nest and found a nest full of the seeds!
The rooibos plant’s growth is limited to a small part of the western coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa. It grows in a symbiotic relationship with local micro-organisms. Scientists speculate that climate change may threaten the future survival of the plant. Some claim that increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall may result in the extinction of the plant within the next cent
Honeybush has many similarities with rooibos – they grow in South Africa, and both come from a legume. There are many varieties of honeybush plant, but in general they are not grown commercially.
Honeybush is so named because the flowers smell of honey. The taste of honeybush tea is similar to that of rooibos but a little sweeter. In some rural districts, it used to be common practice to keep a kettle of honeybush tea infusing on the stove ready for drinking while scenting the whole house nd the product does not turn bitter with long-term simmering.
We also have the Apple and Strawberry Rooibos which is a delicious fruity blend of green honeybush, green rooibos, with fruity flavours – masses of antioxidants for a healthy caffeine free kick.
Why not come and purchase these teas at the shop, or order some to try at home – don’t forget, the discount is only available online!