Rooibos: a healthy and delicious theine-free drink. Considered as the national drink in South Africa, Rooibos or Redbush is a leguminous plant. Also known as Apalathus linearis, it grows north of the Cedarberg region, 200 km north from Cape Tow.
THE VARIOUS BENEFITS OF ROOIBOS
Rooibos is rich in antioxidants protecting the body from cellular ageing and is famous for its numerous benefits on digestion, sleep and allergies. There is no scientific evidence of such effects but current studies tend to prove that some antioxidants specific to Rooibos could have a major role.
Rooibos is caffeine-free, healthy and tasty, perfect for an evening drink. Almost tannin-free, it is very little astringent and its light sweet taste makes it an excellent base for flavoured blends.
A VERY SPECIAL PLANT
Rooibos is a bush-like plant that can be up to 1,5 m high. It is made of a stem spreading out into a vast number of thin branches covered with needle-shaped light green leaves. In spring, it blooms into small yellow blossoms that will each produce a one-seeded fruit.
Rooibos has only been grown and produced for sale since the beginning of the 1930s but it has been consumed as an infusion by indigenous people for more than 300 years. There are two varieties of Rooibos, one being just sundried and the other oxidized. It is the latter variety we are used to drink.
FROM HARVEST TO THE CUP
Harvesting takes place during the first three months of the year corresponding to the summer season. The bushes are cut with a sickle 30 cm from the ground. Leaves and stems are chopped, crushed by mechanic rollers, displayed outside into small heaps and moistened.
The oxidation process then starts, giving the plant its typical taste and red colour. After that, the leaves are left to sundry and sifted to get rid of dirt and bits of stems. Finally, they are steamed before being packed.