South Africa

Although no tea is grown in South Africa, the country is the origin for one of the most popular herbal infusions and tea substitutes, red bush tea or Rooibos. This herb is mainly grown in the Western Cape province of South Africa, in the Cederberg mountain range.

The indigenous population has used Rooibos since before recorded history, and early Dutch settlements in the 18th century adopted the drink as an alternative to the popular but expensive black teas that were in any case largely unavailable so far from the main trade routes. Commercial cultivation however would be difficult to develop and it wasn't until the 1930s that viable methods to grow Rooibos seed in large enough quantities for agriculture were developed.

Today, Rooibos is a bulk commodity that provides the mainstay of the local economy for the districts in which it is grown. It is enjoyed plain for its rich earthy honey taste, or blended with a huge range of other herbs and ingredients.