Frequently Asked Questions about Rooibos

Do you know everything there is to know about Carmién and Rooibos in general? We often get questions about this miracle plant, and our business, so we thought it would be beneficial to answer some of these questions.

Do Carmién Tea supply bulk Rooibos and packaged products?

Yes, Carmién supplies Rooibos in both bulk and packaged formats, and we also pack for our own brands and private label. All our products are available in bulk bags, vacuum packed or boxed, then packed on pallets and wrapped, ready to be delivered to clients across the globe. Bulk products include Rooibos, Honeybush, Buchu, Hoodia, Dried Fruit and various other herbal tea blends and flavours. All cuts and grades are available on request and are comprehensively defined in our Bulk Brochure. We are committed to eco-friendly packaging solutions e.g. recyclable outer packaging, compostable teabags and reusable teaware.

Which food safety certifications does Carmién comply with?

Carmién and our factory, Bergendal Rooibos, are authorized to offer the following certifications and accreditations: Organic JAS, Organic USDA, Organic EU, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, Vegan and Kosher. All Carmién production conforms to the standards laid down by the BRC Global Standard Certification system with regular testing done at critical control points to ensure a hygienic, safe product. The final product is independently tested by PPECB (Perishable Products Export Control Board) from the Department of Agriculture, before issuing the export certificate subject to products meeting the set specifications.

A complete list of our certifications is available for perusal here.

Does Carmién Tea produce its own Rooibos?

Carmién Tea is renowned for not only being a rooibos marketer but also one of the only brands that are a producer, processor and marketer. This enables us to fully commit to job creation and improving the lives of our farm workers. Our exclusive packing facility, Bergendal Rooibos, is 50% owned by farm workers. Read more about the production process, from crop to cup, here.

Where does it grow?

All Carmién Tea Products are made with Rooibos, which means “Red Bush” in Afrikaans, and are unique to the Western Cape Region of South Africa.

In May 2021 Rooibos became the first African food to receive the status of geographical indication (GI), Regulation (EU)No 1151/2012, granting it the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). View the certificate here.

  • 16 regions within the Western and Northern Cape of South Africa are the only regions where Rooibos can be grown and be called Rooibos Tea.
  • Our Carmién Rooibos tea farms are spread across these areas and together with our long-term contracted producers, we are ensured to obtain Rooibos from all the different specified regions.

Is it Tea?

Where Camelia Sinensis is a ‘true’ tea, Rooibos, botanically known as Aspalathus Linearis, is actually a ‘tisane’, a herbal infusion created by pouring hot water over dried (or fresh) herbs, spices, flowers, leaves, etc. Rooibos has small, needle-like leaves which are sundried after harvesting, giving it that distinctive, deep-red colour and sweet flavour, which when steeped in freshly boiled water, makes a deliciously rich drink, often called ‘red bush tea’ or ‘African red tea’ by the industry.

An accidental discovery almost 250 years ago by Swedish naturalist Carl Thunberg, led to rooibos tea becoming known as the popular beverage it is today. During his travels in Africa in 1772, he observed the indigenous Khoisan people using naturally wild-growing ‘Rooibos’/’Red Bush’ as a beverage. This led to rooibos tea becoming a cheaper alternative for early Dutch settlers than the expensive black tea from the East.

Since then its fruity, sweet taste, and naturally caffeine-free, low tannin status has resulted in rooibos being a cultural icon of South Africa. Surveys conducted in 2005 showed that Rooibos tea was one of the ten most frequently consumed foods in informal settlements in South Africa. Today it has widespread local and international appeal, not just for its unique location and taste, but due to its many excellent health benefits.