So what does an expecting mama in her third trimester do for fun around these parts? That’s the question I’ve been trying to get answers to in the last few weeks. Let’s face it, there’s not much we can do that requires minimal exertion. Cue a post from Carmien Tea popping up in my Twitter newsfeed and I suddenly had something to look forward to doing again.
The Perfect Outing for an Expectant Mom
As any expectant mother will tell you, we’ve got to watch what we eat and drink very carefully. Rooibos tea is one of the things I could enjoy freely throughout my pregnancy without worry. So when I saw the post about the tea tasting and farm tour Carmien Tea offered, I was excited. We immediately made plans to book as my time for road trips is running out fast!
Carmien Tea is situated on the Bergendal farm just outside the town of Citrusdal. On a supposedly mild day last week we take on the N7 highway, dodging trucks and road works along the way. We quickly realise that a mild day in Cape Town does not mean the same thing on the West Coast. Temperatures peak at 30 degrees as we near the Piekenierskloof Pass and the aircon remains on full blast. The turn-off to Carmien Tea, the Paleisheuwel road, is a welcome escape from the busy highway. We drive for 7 kilometres to our destination having the road entirely to ourselves. Rooibos tea exclusively grows in this part of the world due to the warm and dry climate being the ideal conditions for it.
Aromatic, Delicious and Refreshing
Our host, Ilze, has warm flavoured rooibos tea prepared for us and we settle down for our tasting. Warm tea on a hot summer’s day might not sound like the best idea but it’s surprisingly refreshing. We sip on green rooibos, fennel and aniseed; red mocha and blackcurrant flavours. All three are aromatic and delicious. Ilze also tells us about their Mamma tea range which includes the Morning and Nursing variants. I silently berate myself for not knowing about the Morning tea (which assists with pregnancy nausea and heartburn) during my dreadful morning sickness first trimester.We watch a short video about the establishment and running of Carmien Tea and I enjoy seeing how the company values their employees and the local community.
Carmien Tea – a Proudly South African Product
Thereafter, we start our factory tour to see first-hand how rooibos tea gets from farm to store shelve and ultimately our cups at home. After being stripped from the rooibos bush, the tea dries for a mere 8 hours before it’s ready to be scooped up by the machine for the sanitising process. I find this fascinating! Ilze points out that a lot of work is done by machine but equally a lot of the work is also labour intensive. This is why at certain times of the year they get extra hands from other provinces to assist. Nothing goes to waste either. The twigs from the rooibos bush are bought by nurseries that moisten and use them to fertilise their soil. It’s also very interesting to learn that 97% of their tea is exported. Our rooibos is in demand!
We have some more tea when we return from our tour while Ilze gives us some tips on how to make the perfect cuppa. Most of the teas on display are not on the supermarket shelves, so we take the opportunity to purchase those we know will be hard to get hold of. Don’t worry if you don’t feel like taking the 2 hour drive to the farm, Carmien Tea also offers tea, food and wine tasting at their Brooklyn office in Cape Town. You can also purchase their full tea range and gift boxes at the Cape Town branch. Visit their website for more information about everything they have to offer.