I find myself in the middle of the Cederberg Mountains, a vast region of South Africa covering 20,000 square kilometres, where the entire world rooibos production is based.
What we call rooibos tea is an infusion made from the leaves of a bush native to this land. It is a tisane with highly beneficial properties, capable of emulating some of the effects of red tea.
The extreme conditions of this location are what make it possible to grow this variety. More specifically, the temperatures range between 48ºC in summer and 0ºC in the middle of winter. So I’ve been lucky. It’s right at the beginning of summer and, therefore, I don’t have to put up with the abrasive heat which, within a few weeks, will impregnate every part of the region.
Quite the contrary; I can sit comfortably and enjoy the scenery. Opposite us, great expanses of leaves from this bush dry in the sun, acquiring their characteristic reddish hue. In this landscape, the farm workers methodically collect the first shoots from the bush and separate the freshest leaves, depositing them in containers so that they start fermenting.
The intense aroma given off by the bush leaves penetrates our senses. This is exactly the same intense aroma which overwhelms us when, in any other place in the world, we have a cup of rooibos steaming in front of us.