Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Tea of Life

The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency's owner, the engaging Precious Ramotswe, could not solve any of her cases without sitting down with a pot of Bush Tea. The delightful series by Alexander McCall Smith highlights the simplicity of life in Gaborone, Botswana and the common use of Rooibos tea.

The Dutch settlers, who arrived in 1652, relied on the passing trade ships for supplies. With black tea, an expensive commodity, the settlers soon looked for alternatives. Rooibos means Red Bush, its scientific name is Aspalathus linear and is a broom-like member of the legume family of plants growing in South Africa. Once picked, the leaves are oxidized, a procedure which gives the distinctive reddish-brown colour to rooibos. Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries, due to its high level of antioxidants, its lack of caffein and its low level of tannin. There an ongoing dispute about the usage of the name Rooibos. The plant is indigenous only to a small region of the Western Cape province. 

Milk? Sugar? This tea is versatile, but I prefer it natural, just like Mma Ramotswe.  Another case solved! 

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