South African rooibos, European recognition

Have you ever tried the South African rooibos? It's not about caffeine-free tea, it's so much more. For starters, it is the first African product to achieve a European Designation of Origin. Learn how the Japanese Empire made this drink popular around the world during its campaign in Asia. Discover the intriguing secrets of this ancient drink. Do you dare to try it if you haven't already?

South African rooibos, Africa's first appellation of origin

El rooibos South African joins the Denomination of Origin club. However, this is not just another case. This is the first case in which the European authorities include in their registry of Protected Geographical Indication an African product. Thus, after a very long process, the infusion plant joins a club with more than four thousand members. In this way, nobody will be able to market anything under this name that was not produced in South Africa. In addition, certain quality conditions.

Despite the fact that the news is recent, the process is not so recent. The Rooibos Council of South Africa submitted the application for admission in 2018. The bureaucracy was slow due to pressure against it from the United Kingdom and the Swiss Association of Tea, Spices and Related Products (IGTC). Finally, the European Commission gave the go-ahead and the name was registered in the database on May 2021, XNUMX. The regulation of the standard entered into force twenty days after its publication in the Official Journal of the EU

What is the history of rooibos?

It probably sounds familiar to you. Maybe you have already tried it. You may think that it is a variety of tea. If you think it is the same as tea but without caffeine, we are sorry to tell you that this is wrong. Many people hold this false belief even though the rooibos be much more. It is a plant from the fynbosWe are talking about a vegetal formation of bushes. It occupies an enormous extension of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

South African rooibos

South African Rooibos / Source: Pixabay

We refer to a set of protected areas that encompass 553.000 hectares of great botanical wealth and biodiversity. The inhabitants of the Cape of Good Hope, the southern African cone where South Africa is located, have consumed it since time immemorial. However, his worldwide fame came thanks to the Segunda Guerra Mundial. During this, it was very complicated and expensive to import infusions from Asia to the West.

Japan occupied most of the places where they were produced and the European powers were at war with the Empire of the Rising Sun. So traders looked for new routes through Africa. The rooibos It became one more infusion than those prepared by the large British companies.

What is rooibos like?

If we get technical, we can call this plant by its scientific name: Aspalathus Linearis. The name rooibos, meanwhile, comes from Afrikaans y means red bush. This is the language of the Boers, the descendants of Dutch settlers who settled in the territory during the XNUMXth century. The name does it justice, since what stands out the most in the infusion is precisely the color. It is very intense and reminiscent of red tea. The aroma, meanwhile, is fruity and very pleasant, the drink lacks caffeine, which is why many consider it a tea and "light", too.

There are two varieties: the well-known red and the least popular it is green. What differentiates them is, more than anything, the fermentation process of the leaves. The green variety maintains the original color and better preserves its antioxidants. Red, for its part, does not preserve them as well as it has gone through an oxidation process. It is harvested in the months from january to march. It is summer in the southern hemisphere and temperatures will exceed forty degrees during the day. Must have more or less eighteen months to be collected.

cib rooibos mug

Mug with rooibos / Source: Pixabay


Rooibos can be an excellent ally if you have the high tension and you like tea. It is not the same but it will quench your thirst. Now that the ban has been opened, do you venture to presage which will be the next African products recognized by the European Commission? The Couscous? The fufu? only time will tell.


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