Rooibos & Honeybush: Grading & Tasting Criteria

Rooibos Super Fine Cut/SFC

The finest tea cut; strong cup infusion; typical sweet aroma with slightly more astringency; also known as a ‘teabag’ cut. Used for retail packaging. Volumetric density varies from 300ml/100g to 360ml/100g. Granules can be added to better the density should it be necessary.

Rooibos Short Cut/SC

A slightly coarser cut than SFC; smooth; typical sweet aroma; amber cup infusion, and mainly sold for certain packed tea products when blended with other herbs and/or fruit teas.

Rooibos Long Cut/LC

A longer tea leaf cut;
3mm – 6mm and uniform in cut size; smooth; typical sweet amber cup, and mainly sold as ‘loose’ tea but also an excellent base for blended (loose) fruit & herbal teas in pyramid bags.

Rooibos Choice grade/CH

Available in a coarser or finer ‘teabag’ cut; contains more stem; finer cut mainly used for teabags and the coarser cut for (tagless) teabags or pyramid teabags, where coarser cuts beautifully display the visual elements of the ingredients.

Rooibos Recycle Grade/Rec

These are customized grades prepared from a certain percentage re-worked products according to customers preferences.

Rooibos Powder/ Dust

The very fine powder sifted out during processing from all grades; also used for manufacturing of espresso mixes and granulates. Rich in flavour and high in density.

Green Rooibos Super Fine Cut/SFC (unfermented)

Unfermented: Green Rooibos & Green Honeybush are unfermented teas; thus have not gone through the fermentation (oxidation) process to turn the green leaves into red/ brown colour. Typical light cup infusion; green taste with caramel notes; can be used for ‘teabag’ packing; density is less than that of fermented tea.

Green Rooibos Long Cut/LC (unfermented)

Light cup infusion; green taste with caramel notes; used and mainly sold as ‘loose’ tea but also an excellent base for blended (loose) fruit & herbal teas.

Honeybush Super Fine Cut/SFC

Honeybushisa full bodied herbal tea with spicy notes; the different cultivars have different flavour profiles and a blend ensures best consistency; the fine cut is used for ‘teabag’ packaging.

Honeybush Coarse Cut/CC

Light cup infusion; full smooth flavour profile. Used and mainly sold
as ‘loose’ tea but also an excellent base for blended (loose) fruit & herbal teas. Used in pyramid teabags and loose blends.

Green Honeybush Super Fine Cut/SFC (unfermented)

Light cup infusion; full smooth flavour profile; can be used for teabag packaging.

Honeybush Coarse Cut/CC

Light cup infusion; full smooth flavour profile. Used and mainly sold as ‘loose’ tea but also an excellent base for blended (loose) fruit & herbal teas. Used in pyramid teabags and loose blends.

Rooibos is naturally caffeine free unlike Black or Green Tea. It has a naturally sweet taste with a smooth texture and mouthfeel. Fruity caramel notes on the nose with low astringency on the follow through.

The flowers of the honeybush shrub have a honey-like smell, hence the name. Honeybush (also caffeine free) is sweeter and fuller bodied than rooibos, a taste often described as floral, lightly roasted, similar to honey.

Unfermented Green Rooibos (and Honeybush) have not undergone the fermentation process that gives rooibos (and honeybush) its distinct red colour and is therefore higher in antioxidants with increased health benefit.

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