Grab a cup of warm, comforting rooibos and settle into all its goodness… We caught up with Lize Mouton from Carmién Tea to shine a light on this Western Cape treasure.
Growing up on a rooibos farm not so far away from the Carmién Tea farms, in what ways has your childhood experience influenced your approach to the industry?
Rooibos is a unique product that grows only in the Western Cape of South Africa. It is a privilege to be based in the middle of this region.
As South Africans, we have always taken rooibos for granted but with the international growth in the demand for rooibos we are starting to see its full potential. Currently there is a huge shortage of rooibos tea and the industry is struggling to produce enough on a sustainable level to keep up with this growing demand.
Everyone wants to be part of the rooibos industry these days with the product now being used in anything from wine and beer to bread. This is a good thing and we hope to see more of this. As the minister of agriculture and economic development Alan Winde recently said opening the Cheese and Wine festival, proposing a toast with a cup of locally produced Carmién rooibos: ‘South Africa’s normal tea should be rooibos’. This is our aim at Carmién Tea – to welcome every tourist in South Africa with a cup of Carmién rooibos, directly from the farm.
We love how proudly Carmién Tea wears its Social Goodness badge. What is your favourite community project?
At Carmién Tea we believe in creating a better future for all. Apart from doing training and development of farm workers and being involved in many community projects, we also invested in a few BBE projects with our producer- and production shareholders.
Through our rooibos sales, 529 farm workers are shareholders and 2 400, including family members, are direct beneficiaries. This sense of ownership among our workers helps us to ensure a high-quality, totally traceable product, produced according to International Food Safety Regulations and environmental and socially just and sustainable practices.
To have creches on all farms to take proper care of children and stimulate them while women get the opportunity to add extra income for every household, is one of our biggest aims since 1985.
Another badge is Health Goodness. When the sniffles come around everybody makes a cup of rooibos tea, but what other health benefits are there?
These days, everyone knows that natural and pure is good for you. Rooibos is naturally free of any preservatives, colorants or additives.
It is also naturally free of caffeine and therefore a naturally sweet thirst quencher without any added sugar of kilojoules. Rooibos contains natural anti-oxidants including aspalathin which may help to combat diseases, protect the immune system and fight ageing. It also contains lower tannins when compared to black tea.
Besides a great set of tea cups, what should every tea-lover have in their kitchen?
At Carmién we believe in offering the whole experience of enjoying tea, not only by itself, but also pairing it with food and wine. Having a good infusion teapot and tasting cups is key to enjoying such an experience either by yourself or with friends.
Therefore, we have decided to provide a variety of glass, cast iron and ceramic tea accessories and tableware. We invite everyone to come and enjoy a tea, food and wine pairing at our showroom in Cape Town or enjoy a full rooibos tour with this tasting experience on the farm in Citrusdal.
Rooibos is great company at the dinner table. What is your favourite food and rooibos tea pairing?
Rooibos is such a great drink to pair with any flavour of food as well as wine. We call it ‘tea to the table’ — a journey of tea and food tasting and pairing where a variety of the Carmien Tea blends are served in teapots, each on its own burner on the table, standing side by side with the food and wine. You sip small cups of the perfectly brewed Carmién Tea blend varieties, experimenting with what works best with what type of food.
The different tea blends not only reveal a new world of flavours when combined with a mouthful of food and a sip of wine, but also serve as a palate cleanser, specifically when you have a variety of wines. It also helps for better digestion of food and is hydrating and not dehydrating, as wine and coffee tend to be.
Our favourite combination we usually enjoy at Hebron in Citrusdal is the Carmien Lemongrass & Ginger Rooibos mixed with our Chai tea and paired with Thai flavours – think lime, chili, coriander and mint, or a tea-smoked chicken and mango salad.
Carmién Tea is hosting food and wine pairings at its showroom in Northgate Estate, Brooklyn. Or, you can find Carmién on the first stop on the rooibos route in Citrusdal. Here you can enjoy a full rooibos experience from the field and factory to a tea tasting and food pairing. Book your rooibos experience now through [email protected]
Where Unit 32, Northgate Business Park, Northgate Estate, Brooklyn
When Showroom trading hours Monday to Friday 8 am – 5 pm
Contact 021 510 2685, www.carmientea.co.za