Production and quality aspects of rooibos tea and related products. A review


  • E. Joubert
  • H. Schultz


Use of the herbal tea, rooibos, made from the indigenous South African fynbos plant, Aspalathus linearis spp. linearis, has shown tremendous growth on the international markets since the 1990s. From a small beginning in 1904, solely depended on wild harvesting, the industry has developed out of the selected and cultivated Nortier type, leading to improved quality. Traditional rooibos is processed, entailing an oxidation („fermentation“) step, essential to develop the characteristic sweetish flavour and red-brown colour. Higher antioxidant levels for unfermented rooibos resulted in the development of green rooibos and extracts enriched in aspalathin, a potent antioxidant unique to rooibos. Major markets for rooibos extracts are ready-to-drink iced teas and cosmetic products.