The Taste the Good Life Project between Carmién Tea and TEEKANNE has made a positive contribution, not only to those who participated in the cooking competition but to the entire community. Greater awareness has been created towards healthy living and healthy cooking – a foundation that we can only build on from here.

We have also found a move towards drinking rooibos tea, hot or cold, especially amongst our children. Many reusable drinking bottles have been handed out to both adults and children to date, making it so much easier to maintain the good habits we are aiming to instil in each household. Our Carmién Relax, Revive and Sleepy Time teas have become favourites and of great value as immune-boosting and stress relieving drinks in a time when the pandemic has wreaked havoc in our community. As much as we feel we are making a difference, the need seems to grow daily, and much can still be done to improve living conditions.

We have done tea pairings for many years, but it is heart-warming to see how it is being adopted at so many levels. The Ubuntu daycare in the village is just one of the places that recently did a very innovative tea pairing with their kids, pairing our Turkish Delight tea with a Turkish Delight chocolate, Banana Choc tea with fresh banana and our newly launched Boost tea with added Zinc and Vit C paired with a fresh Clementines. We are grateful for the teachers who support our drive towards healthy living (with a touch of chocolate every now and then!).

Taste The Good Life Project: Cooking Competition & Winners

As happy as we are to be part of bringing about change and a better life, it remains an enormous task but then, a village is built one person/one household at a time. Sadly, many families experience devastating losses simply due to the way they cook and provide light. Candles are accidentally left burning at night or fall over and a whole shack is alight within minutes, taking along many shacks close by. These accidents also happen because open fires are made inside when the weather is cold.

Taste The Good Life Project: Cooking Competition & Winners

A large majority of our workers are seasonal and like the village inhabitants, they live in tin shanties that provide little warmth and protection against the elements. They never know whether they will wake up to a flood of water or half a roof was blown off, not to mention, no house to come home to. It is cute for children to dance in the rain, but the reality is they have no indoor space to play in.

Taste The Good Life Project: Cooking Competition & Winners

We hope to uplift village life one cup of rooibos tea at a time. Awareness is the start of all good things in life.


The aim of this project was to get members of our community excited about cooking healthier meals for themselves and their families. This was done by launching a virtual competition where prizes were given to community members and families that lose the most weight.

Boxes filled with healthy ingredients were supplied to households every two weeks with instructional videos by local celebrity chef Carmen Niehaus, on how to prepare these meals, as well as tips on how to measure the ingredients correctly and what a balanced, healthy plate should look like. More than one person per household could enter, giving the whole family a chance to learn more and create their own healthy and delicious meals.

All videos were created in Afrikaans, the home language of the participants, to allow them to easily understand the instructions, ingredients, and measurements. The videos were sent out to community members on a weekly basis via a WhatsApp group at low file sizes, to allow easy viewing and downloading where public Wi-Fi is not available and the cost of mobile data is high. Wi-Fi was however made available at selected buildings in the community, allowing entrants easy access to the necessary information.

Boxes filled with healthy ingredients were handed out to families every two weeks, a total of four boxes per family, for the duration of the competition. With these ingredients, they received an instructional video and were then tasked to recreate these recipes at home. A recipe booklet was also handed out to the families with even more recipes included, to help them cook healthier meals even after the competition ends.

All contestants were measured and weighed at the start of the competition in March, and again at the end of the competition in June. Altogether the 72 contestants lost a total of 86,6 kg.

Taste The Good Life Project: Cooking Competition & Winners

Feedback from the winners:

I enjoyed everything about the competition. It was actually hard work, but very rewarding. The food boxes and the recipes were the best and I couldn’t wait for each new box… just to see which recipes were next on the list! The competition has inspired me, not only to lose weight but to work harder at it.” – Constance Hendricks (lost 12,7 kg)

I loved the competition, especially the cookbook and learnt so much from it. I am definitely not a MasterChef but my mom’s encouragement made it all turn out well. I also cut out bread completely and added salad and other options instead. I am more than comfortable with my new sexy body and can only say, thank you very much.” – Joyceline Dirks (lost 9,5 kg)

For me, the best part of the competition were the tips, the walks every evening… and the delicious flavours and food. Thank you. It was great to be part of the cooking competition.” – Jurieca September (lost 5,3 kg)

The contestants were incentivised with clothing vouchers, goodie bags and vouchers for local experiences at De Tol Farm Deli, where our Carmién Tea Shop is located.