WHAT THE TEA LADY KNOWS
‘‘ MMA Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill. These were its assets: a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone and an old typewriter. Then there was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe— the only lady private detective in Botswana— brewed red bush tea. And three mugs: one for herself, one for her secretary, and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need?’’
Readers of Alexander McCall Smith’s popular No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, set in Botswana, will be well acquainted with Mma Precious Ramotswe’s lifelong addiction to red bush tea. In her detective agency office — adjacent to Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, owned by her husband Mr J. L. B. Matekoni — the traditionally built Mma Ramotswe brews countless pots of stiff red bush tea each day. One can’t imagine the lady detective heaving herself aboard her tiny white van and rumbling off to scare the daylights out of mischief makers without several fortifying litres under her belt.
Australian tea company T2 has red Rooibos looseleaf tea (100g box, $11.50; 250g foil packet, $22.50; 250g tall tin, $28.50) among its ever-expanding lineup. Other exotic blends worth a sip: honey green almond, honey vanilla, white flowery pekoe, chilli kiss, billy bush tucker, turkish apple and the deliciously complex fruit blush.
Rooibos contains no caffeine and is grown only in South Africa around the Cederberg mountain region north of Capetown. It contains few tannins but is rich in iron, fluoride, calcium and magnesium. Surely a cuppa of this health-giving brew is the perfect companion when reading McCall Smith’s Botswana books. The latest No 1 Ladies Detective Agency title, the ninth in the series, TheMiracleatSpeedyMotors (Little, Brown $34.99), is due out on March 1. Unsurprisingly, Mma Ramotswe is well into a cup of red bush tea by page four.
www.t2tea.com Susan Kurosawa