Farmers have also adopted best practice farming methods through crop rotation, the use of Integrated Pest Management Techniques (IPM) and the decreased use of chemicals.
As Rooibos is connected to nature, it is also connected to the people of the Cederberg, and improved, stable working conditions remain a strong focus of the industry.
Many Rooibos products already carry the Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance certification™, which gives consumers the assurance that Rooibos has been sourced in a way that is better for producers and the environment.
These certifications focus on the people, planet and profit principle and means that farms put measures in place to ensure that they meet these goals, and in some cases even go beyond what is accepted as international good practise for the environmental, social well-being of workers and for the economic sustainability of the business. Fairtrade International, Rainforest Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), adopt this principle, which amongst other aspects cover ecosystem conservation, worker rights and safety, wildlife protection, water and soil conservation, agrochemical reduction, decent housing, legal wages and contracts for farmworkers.
To honour International Tea Day and what it aims to achieve, we encourage tea-drinkers to inform themselves, not only about the characteristics of the tea they drink, but also about where it is grown, how it is cultivated and the conditions under which labourers work.
Every time you sip on a cup of Rooibos, know that sustainability is at the heart of the industry and that it aims to pass on a healthy stock of natural resources, such as clean air and water, healthy soil and natural ecosystems for future generations to thrive.
Fun ways to celebrate International Tea Day:
- Try a new flavour of Rooibos – there are more than 100 varieties to choose from.
- Host a tea party. Enjoy pairing different Rooibos blends with complementary food. See guide here.
- Learn about the history and production of Rooibos by touring a Rooibos farm in Clanwilliam. Contact the Rooibos Route for more info: rooibos-route.co.za
- Enjoy a tea-tasting at the Rooibos Tea House.
- Experiment with Rooibos in cocktails/mocktails, smoothies, food and more.
Best way to drink Rooibos:
There really are no hard and fast rules of how to drink Rooibos, but we’d recommend that you steep it for at least five to ten minutes in order to extract the most flavour.
What’s interesting though, is that every nation has its own distinct way of drinking Rooibos.
- The countries with an English route, drink it with milk and sugar.
- The Eastern nations drink Rooibos black, quite weak with no sugar or flavourings.
- The Europeans, who come from an herbal background, tend to mix Rooibos with lots of herbs, but all delicate flavours.
- The Americans use more in your face, full flavoured teas, so Rooibos becomes a carrier.