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Sensory Workshop presented by the Stellenbosch University Food Science Department

In our quest to continue supplying rooibos of exceptional high standard and quality, it is important to train all staff involved on an annual basis. Regular training helps to improve our internal grading and tasting protocols. We recently sent our entire quality and grading panel for a Sensory Workshop on the quality assessment of rooibos. This was presented by the Stellenbosch University Food Science Department under guidance of Dr Brigitte du Preez and Dr Erika Moelich, both project researchers at the Food Science Faculty. They have many years’ experience in the sensory evaluation of foodstuffs and have also done much research on a variety of rooibos health topics.

It is important to train the tasting panel on tasting constants and to be calibrated in tasting against each other and identifying the correct basic characteristics of fermented rooibos. This is done according to the Rooibos Aroma Flavour wheel below.


Rooibos should display:

  1. High intensity in primary aroma profile: Rooibos-woody, Fynbos-floral & Honey.
  2. High intensity in secondary aroma profile: Fruity-sweet, Caramel & Apricot.
  3. High overall character on palate, i.e. balance of positive flavours, sweet taste and astringency. Low Hay/dried grass flavour. Absence of taints.


“I can see how the quality/grading staff has grown and expanded their knowledge on tasting and grading Rooibos in the correct manner since we started with the Sensory Training sessions at the University of Stellenbosch. The training definitely improves their confidence and has enabled them to take ownership of their very important positions. I’m excited to monitor their growth and how Carmién Tea’s Rooibos quality will continue to improve in the future.”

Ilze Bruwer, Carmién Tea Quality Assurance Manager

“I find the training very valuable and edifying resulting in a much greater awareness of the colour profiles, aromas and taste of Rooibos. Over the years my sensory abilities have vastly improved, especially my sense of smell and ability to taste slight variations. I find the training has given me more confidence in our tea tasting sessions and a greater ability to meet each client’s taste profile needs.”

Liezl Jantjies, Director and Production Manager at Bergendal Rooibos