Production

The production of Rooibos tea starts with the cultivating of seedlings from the small seeds. This normally happens around February every year. By July / August the seedlings are ready for planting in the plantations. Under normal conditions Rooibos tea plants have an average life time of 5 to 6 years. The first harvest can be collected after two years and there after annually.

 

The main harvesting season is from mid January to mid April. The needle like plant material are collected in bundles and taken to the drying area for further processing.


Feel free to click this link to see a slideshow of how the Rooibos tea goes from picked to packed. Please note that this is a very large file and may take long to load.

At the drying area the plant material is chopped into 2 to 3 millimeter cutlets. The material then gets moistened and bruised to enhance the fermentation process. There after it is left in a fermentation heap for about 12 hours. During fermentation the unique enzymes react in such a way that the physical colour of the material changes from green to the red colours that Rooibos tea are known for. During this process the unique aroma of Rooibos tea is also formed. This aroma and colour may differ, depending on the soil that the plant was grown in, the climate and the way the tea was made. Just like with winemaking every tea producer has his or her own unique way of fermenting the Rooibos tea. This has a small but definite influence on the colour and aroma of the Rooibos tea.

After fermentation the tea gets evenly spread over a large concrete area and dried in natural sunlight. When the total moisture content of the Rooibos tea does no longer exceed 10 percent the tea is collected and bagged. The Rooibos tea is now safe to be bulk stored until further processing.

 

The first part of the specialized processing is where the Rooibos tea is sifted to separate the super grade Rooibos from unwanted grades and foreign objects. These unwanted grades contain cores materials and dust. The cores materials are used to create lower grade Rooibos for example Milled Rooibos tea. The Rooibos dust on the other hand can be used for extraction. The extract can be used in beauty products.

The second part of the specialized process entails the sterilization of the Rooibos tea. During this process the Rooibos tea gets heated by steam to ensure that all bacteria are killed. Part of this process includes the drying of the Rooibos tea. This is only to ensure that the total moisture content of the product does not exceed 10 percent. The next step is for the tea to be analyzed by proper authorities to ensure that the Rooibos tea meets all mandatory regulations. The final product is now ready for bulk storage and distribution.

 

 

Packaging is when the Rooibos tea is packed into 2 or 2.5 gram sachets. A total amount of 20 sachets are collectively sealed in a pouch. The pouch material may differ according to the needs of the customer. The 40 or 50 gram pouch can now be packed into the customers packaging and is ready to be distributed to retail markets.

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