Recently Anton got together with a Cape Town-based travel company, Explore Sideways, to design an exclusive Rooibos tasting experience for travelers who are interested in the world of flavours and teas in particular. Explore Sideways was founded to show the world the very best that Cape Town has to offer. Their team curates an unforgettable private experience customized to your exact interests and preferences. Explore Sideways team was curious to know more about the terroir approach, Sunbird Rooibos and Anton's story.
A year in South Asia
Anton used to work as a winemaker, before studying environmental science and then spending a year in Nepal. There, he discovered what good quality tea is and how similar it is to wine – both in how the flavours develop and then how they are appreciated. It also gave him a new found appreciation for an old staple – Rooibos. Upon returning home, he adopted the colourful and boisterous sunbird as his mascot for hisquality tea brand. These iconic nectar-drinking birds are at home in the mountains where Rooibos naturally grows – making them the ideal symbol for his organic teas.
The terroir approach
"Sunbird Rooibos are the first company to look into the terroir differences of Rooibos and launch a range based on this. As we are still new – with our first harvest only a year ago, we are still in very much a learning phase as to how the terroir affects flavour", says Anton.
"The differences are there, to be sure, but what causes these will take time. After all, the French wine approach to terroir is the outcome of centuries of trial-and-error practice. Still, we are already noticing that the hotter and drier areas appear to accentuate the flavours and make them more robust, while cooler areas are producing softer, more delicate flavours."
Creating a high-end product and a tea tasting experience
Anton is very passionate about creating opportunities in his beloved South Africa.
"Unfortunately, 95% of the rooibos tea exported goes in bulk. A fraction of this will be quality, but the majority will be a blend of high and low quality to yield a middle of the road, but a consistent product."
"Most high-end tea brands will offer a Rooibos, but it’s mostly just to complete their range or offer something interesting onto which they blend. At Sunbird, we look to create the quality product here in South Africa, creating the value close to the source and so provide work and opportunities in our home country."
If you like to learn more about Rooibos tasting in a special setting in Cape Town, please do get hold of Explore Sideways.
The original text was written and posted by Explore Sideways on their website.