When I first started out seriously drinking tea (and by that I mean actually emptying the cup, rather than pretending to sip and making faces of disgust when no one was looking) it was always rooibos, and always to accompany something else. So when I find myself drinking straight-forward, sturdy rooibos these days, it’s always a very deprivation-tainted, ‘hey who took my scone?’ kind of experience. It makes me want to throw an elaborate tea party. With individual menus. And five kinds of sandwiches. And three times as many kinds of cakes. More than anything, it makes me crave the afternoon tea at Mount Nelson in Cape Town, and crave it bad.
I love rooibos, but it’s occasion tea for me, not everyday tea. Not because I consider it luxurious – on the contrary I find it rather robust – but because it’s sociable tea. It’s not something I drink in solitude – it’s something I serve friends. (With a plate of scones. And three kinds of cake.)
This is one of my simple rooibos favourites. It smells so good. There’s definitely a creamy headiness to it, that makes me wish there were a floral Bailey’s to be found. It’s pretty, too, with its cornflower petals, but it’s definitely not one of those abundantly chunky teas.
I like this one best when it cools a little, as the smoothness and creaminess of the flavour are subdued in the hotter tea. The strawberry note does by no means dominate, it blends well into the floral redolence, and a hint of vanilla keeps it all together.
[Purchased at Tehörnan in Uppsala, fall 2012.]