Discovering the Fascinating Story of African Rooibos or ‘Red Bush’ Tea

Discovering the Fascinating Story of African Rooibos or ‘Red Bush’ Tea

Are you a tea lover searching for a refreshing and healthy alternative to your regular cuppa? If so, it’s time to delve into the intriguing history of rooibos or ‘red bush’ tea. Made from the rooibos plant that grows only in a remote, mountainous region of South Africa, this herbal tea has captivated the world with its unique, earthy flavor and therapeutic properties. In this blog post, we’ll take you through the fascinating story of African rooibos tea.



Indigenous communities in South Africa have used rooibos tea for centuries for medicinal purposes. It wasn’t until the 18th century, when Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg made the first recorded mention of rooibos tea; its popularity spread internationally. The Dutch settlers in South Africa, searching for a cheaper alternative to import black tea, quickly fell in love with rooibos tea. However, it was only in the early 1900s, when Russian immigrant Benjamin Ginsberg entered the scene, that rooibos tea began commercializing. He began buying and selling the tea, marketing it as “Mountain Tea.” Later, business partner Pieter Lefras Nortier developed the production of rooibos into a fully-fledged international commercial enterprise. Thanks to Nortier’s efforts, rooibos are cultivated and exported globally today.



The rooibos plant grows in the rocky, sandy soil of the Cederberg region of Western Cape, South Africa. They primarily harvested it during the summer months, from January to March. After being harvested, the leaves and stems are bruised, chopped, and left to ferment. The fermentation process gives rooibos its unique reddish-brown color and its characteristic flavor. Once the fermentation process is complete, the rooibos is sun-dried. The rooibos take around a week to fully dry and prepare for packaging.


Health Benefits:

Rooibos tea is a herbal remedy for many ailments, from insomnia and anxiety to allergies and digestion problems. It is caffeine-free, making it an excellent choice for those looking to reduce their caffeine intake. Rooibos tea is also rich in antioxidants, which can help protect against cellular damage and may aid in reducing inflammation. They have also studied it for its potential to boost heart health, improve blood pressure, and strengthen bones.


Exclusive Recognition for Rooibos

In a significant development, the European Union has recently granted a protected designation of origin to rooibos. This accolade ensures that the tea's exceptional quality and distinctive characteristics are derived solely from its geographical sources. Only rooibos grown in the Cederberg region can bear the name "rooibos" commercially within the EU. This protective status not only acts as an effective quality control measure but also aims to strengthen the regional economy of West Cape and South Africa. With the ongoing expansion of rooibos production, this recognition holds immense promise.


From its rich history to its unique production process, rooibos tea is an extraordinary beverage that has intrigued enthusiasts worldwide. Whether you are curious about its many health benefits or simply searching for a flavorful and refreshing drink, rooibos tea is something you must try. So, sit back, relax, and indulge in the flavors and stories of this magnificent herbal tea.

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