The Rooibos Sensory Wheel
The rooibos sensory wheels serve as quality control and communication tools. These wheels provide industry role players with a tool to understand exactly what constitutes the “characteristic aroma and taste” of this South African herbal tea.
The first generic rooibos sensory wheel, developed in 2011, was revised in 2017 to illustrate the relative importance of positive and negative aroma attributes in terms of intensity and occurrence. In 2021 a final revision was made to the sensory wheel.
The Carmién and Bergendal Rooibos quality control department was privileged to attend this workshop earlier this year. It was a full day of going through all the positive and negative attributes and physically tasting and smelling the different chemical reference standards, a good exercise to train our department to taste consistently and to recognize certain “off” tastes.
Professor Lizette Joubert from the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch, as well as Nina Muller and other sensory science researchers of the Department of Food Science, Stellenbosch University once again used their expertise, teaching the intricacies of taste and how to use the Sensory wheel as a tool to produce the best quality tea in the market.
Colourful graphics were employed to illustrate the sensory lexicon and explain the concept of chemical reference standards and their role in quality control. Additionally, posters have been printed to depict the rooibos aroma wheel, as well as the lexicon of sensory attributes associated with rooibos tea quality.
Watch a short clip about the topic here.