A new innovative approach to Rooibos
Although we are a Rooibos business, our roots are in wine. Our background in winemaking, as well as our single-origin approach and unflavoured range shows this. Disappointingly, until now, Rooibos hasn’t been taken seriously as a beverage, Still, we have to remember that it only has a commercial history of just over a hundred years, and a domesticated history even shorter than that. And the good news is Rooibos is seeing more innovation within it every year, with Sunbird among the leaders.
We had the opportunity to trial this recently at the FUSE 2018 We Are Africa travel conference – an ‘unconference’ for those in the travel industry hosted at Spier Wine Farm. FUSE is where the leading minds in high-end African travel connect with cross-industry innovators and disruptors to share ideas, discuss opportunities and challenges, and set light to a new vision for the future of high-end travel.
Collaboration with Explore Sideways
Under the red-leafed vines of autumn, and with a few sunbirds chirping in the distance, we felt right at home. Sunbird is teaming up with Explore Sideways – one of Cape Town’s premier bespoke travel agencies – to provide a unique guided Rooibos tasting within Cape Town.
A surprise Rooibos tasting for the lucky ones
The attendees were asked to do a ‘Leap of Faith’ seminar session, where they signed up for short interactive events, without knowing what they’re in for. Ten lucky travel agents sat down with us just after lunch to enjoy a delicious Rooibos digestif. For 45 minutes, we sipped Rooibos, tasting the differences in their flavours and learned about the fascinating history, biology, farming and growing of Rooibos, from our founder Anton Louw. One of the highlights included tasting the still to be released barrel-fermented Rooibos – them being the first outside a small group of insiders to have that privilege.
Bringing terroir Rooibos from the Cederberg Mountains to Cape Town
Although the Cederberg is heartland of Rooibos country, and the locals there are welcoming and willing to share their time and knowledge about their tea, the area will always be a bit off the beaten track for most tourists. As they turn their hired cars east and head off to the well-trodden Garden Route, they don’t know what they’re missing! Yet, no one in Cape Town – the largest nearby city, and South Africa’s tourism capital – offers a genuine Rooibos experience with focus on terroir Rooibos!
While it is true that there is no substitute for visiting the place itself, in tasting teas (also coffees and wines) we are able to take a flavour journey there. When this is accompanied with an enriching conversation on the tea itself, the end experience can be almost as pleasant as visiting the tea’s very own home.
Interested in Rooibos tasting as part of your visit to Cape Town?
Sunbird will be doing these exclusive tastings at outdoor locations throughout the next summer. Read a blog post about our tasting on Explore Sideways' website - The Real Story Behind Rooibos Tea. For an exclusive Cape Town itinerary including a Rooibos tasting, please get hold of Explore Sideways - firstname.lastname@example.org.
All photos courtesy of We Are Africa Travel