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Grown exclusively in South Africa, rooibos comes from aspalathus linearis, a plant that is part of the legume family. It is indigenous to the region of Cederberg which is a dry, mountainous region that also experiences periods of significant rainfall. Having grown in popularity, commercially grown rooibos plants have been transplanted in other regions of South Africa but are not grown anywhere else in the world. Aspalathus linearis is harvested and processed in a similar way to camellia sinensis. The plant is cut by hand, its stems and leaves are bound into bundles, and they’re sorted and cut or bruised to encourage oxidation. The more oxidized the rooibos, the redder in color and sweeter and richer in flavor it becomes. Green rooibos is processed by steaming and immediately drying the stems and leaves instead of oxidizing them. This creates a cup that is grassy and mineral-like.

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