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Rooibos estate and vintage: What makes Original Rooibos Significant

The main importance regarding Rooibos tea is the quality and location where the tea is from, that is why Original Rooibos is so significant from any other tea.

The Maskam brand of rooibos, is produced on the estate type concept ensuring that cultivation is based on the careful selection of only the best plant material, the growing of their own seedlings, and supported by long term research and development projects as far as the production, harvesting and preparation of the final product are concerned.

From Maskam: "Due to the fact that we only farm rooibos, we can ensure our clients of our utmost focus and dedication of quality products."

"It was this focused attitude that ensured our tea estate the prize for the best quality tea produced in the industry in bothe 1996 and 1993. This prize have been won 7times out of 10 consecutive years by farms located within the Maskam region. On these farms rooibos only is cultivated, a situation which, together with the unique micro-climate, produces rooibos herbal tea of an unquestionably superior quality."

The production of the Greater Maskam area constitutes about 25% (1500Mt) of the total output of rooibos. It is from this information and later research into the important role which micro-climatical conditions are playing, that the concept of region-based and also vintage related rooibos was born.

It is a fact beyond dispute that a serious producer and marketer of rooibos has to recognize the significance of vintage years, and the bearing it has on the final colour appearance, aromatic and taste qualities of the eventual cup of tea. After all, rooibos is a living natural plant product which itself will of necessity be subject to ampelographical conditions, altitude, soil types, wheather conditions such as rainfall, the presence of fog during certain stages of the day, proximity to the ocean, and so forth.

Let us take altitude as an example: Although rooibos can be cultivated in any altitude, the basic rule is that the higher the plants are cultivated, the better the tea which is produced. The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple: the cooler air restricts the speed of growth of the plant, thereby forcing it to producing a more tender leaf with better flavour qualities. At a lower altitude the plant bust will grow more profusely, resulting in the production of a tea product with a rougher, less elegant flavour personality. The height above sea level for the Maskam area is approximately 900m, and 450m for the Clanwilliam region.

Within the above context it is generally accepted that those mountainous properties which are located in or above the fog belt, possesses the best soils for the growth of the rooibos plant and consequently for the production of the best tea. It is also in these areas that rooibos is growing (wild) naturally. In fact it seems that the higher the altitude, the better the tea. As such some specific regions of significance for the cultivation of rooibos are: parts of the Bokkeveld mountains with the Nieuwoudtville plateau of particular importance, the Gif (Gifberg) and Koebee mountains . comprising part of the Matzikamma range . as well as the Cedar and Olifants River mountains.

The antitheses of the importance of locality is of course that a high percentage (almost 50%) of rooibos, as it stand in the Industry today, is produced from the inferior sandy soils of the low altitude areas.

In addition to the above, the importance of the production methods which are applied can also not be emphasized enough, all of which will contribute to the final style of the tea that is sold to the consumer. Within this context the significance of producing regions and estates cannot be accentutated enough; simply because of the fact that the smaller and the better located the area of origin, the easier the variables which influence plant quality can be utilized. The truth is just that the quality of a cup of rooibos herbal tea, can be indubitably and directly linked to the origin of plant growth.

The fact that our pasteurization facility is situated in the heart of the Maskam production area, signifies that we are in the strategic position to facilitate all the processing of rooibos tea from the surrounding region. We are setting new standards in this very young privatized industry and are follwing along the lines that most other serious producers are adhering to in the marketing and promotion of their products, i.e. to stay with the emphasize the quality and integrity of regional or estate based products.
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