Rooibos Tea Now Has A Sensory Wheel

Rooibos has become an extremely popular decaffeinated red tea from South Africa that can be found in coffee and tea shops everywhere. There are about 450 growers in the world because of the differences of climate and soil across the South African region. Recently, a team of scientists were hired to give quality standards to the tea and a group of tasters to give Rooibos a type of sensory portrait. Just like coffee, whiskey, and wine, these scientists and tasters have created a sensory wheel containing words such as “honey,” woody,” “spicy,” “caramel,” “hay,” “seaweed,” and “mustiness”.
Researchers and the region of South African hope that this new sensory wheel will not only be able to describe the perfect cup of the popular Rooibos tea, but they’ll be able to tell you where it comes from and how it was processed. Rooibos goes through several processing steps, including a kind of composting fermentation process that turns it from its raw green color to the familiar fiery red and orange. Then it is dried for a certain length of time on “rooibos courts” in the sun before being sorted and packaged.
All of these geographic and agricultural nuances may leave their marks on the tea’s flavor and aromas, but before now, there was no standard flavor to use as a ruler.
Can you imagine tea tasting a la Napa Valley Style? I think this could be pretty cool to see what foods can be paired with the tea or what can be added.

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