Late Fe­bru­ary

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - The First Story -

and it’s 43˚C in the shade. Ex­cept there isn’t any shade on the high, wind-parched plateaus of the Ceder­berg. Watched over by San paint­ings, Boltwin Tam­boer and five oth­ers har­vest rooibos the old­fash­ioned way: re­mov­ing the top two-thirds of the waist-high bushes with sim­ple metal sick­les be­fore gather­ing the woody green stems in bun­dles the size of a boer­boel.

Al­most ex­actly ten thou­sand miles away, in a trendy Port­land cafe, a bearded barista pulls a shot of Red Es­presso from his gleam­ing La Mar­zocco GB5 be­fore top­ping it with a feath­ery al­mond-milk spume and a dash of or­ganic honey. He’s been at it all morn­ing: The cafe’s moun­tain-bik­ing, soft­ware-cod­ing, yoga-prac­tis­ing pa­trons can’t get enough of the new bev­er­age that’s nat­u­rally caf­feine-free, packed with an­tiox­i­dants, and down­right de­li­cious to boot.

Red Es­presso, the 2005 brain­child of hus­band-and-wife team Pete and Monique Ethel­ston and their friend Carl Pre­to­rius, is the pre­vi­ously miss­ing link that con­nects Boltwin Tam­boer and his San an­ces­tors with those Port­land hip­sters. By grind­ing top-notch, high-alti­tude rooibos to a pow­dery con­sis­tency and ex­tract­ing it un­der nine bars of pres­sure, they have spawned a bev­er­age cat­e­gory that strad­dles the health and cafe mar­kets like no other.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing nat­u­rally caf­feine free, Red Es­presso claims its drink con­tains 10 times more an­tiox­i­dants than gewone rooibos. It boasts a bold, sat­is­fy­ing flavour pro­file that works a treat used in cap­puc­ci­nos, lat­tes, frappes, macchiatos and more. The global shift to­wards health and well­ness (it’s said to be the next tril­lion­dol­lar in­dus­try) has helped the prod­uct make in­roads. ‘ We used to have a hard time con­vinc­ing peo­ple to try our prod­uct,’ says Monique. ‘ But we now find con­sumers and cafes very open to the idea of a nat­u­rally caf­feine­free cof­fee al­ter­na­tive.’

Monique’s role as mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor is made eas­ier by her prod­uct’s quan­tifi­able health ben­e­fits. Red Es­presso is packed to the jowls with the pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant found only in rooibos. As­palathin fights free rad­i­cals caused by the sun, pol­lu­tion and stress and thus helps to pre­vent pre­ma­ture age­ing, heart dis­ease and can­cer.

Be­cause it’s nat­u­rally caf­feine­free, Red Es­presso helps you to sleep bet­ter at night while also re­duc­ing your lev­els of stress, sooth­ing mus­cle ten­sion, eas­ing nasal con­ges­tion and aid­ing in hy­dra­tion. The zinc con­tained in Red Es­presso amps up the im­mune sys­tem, helps your me­tab­o­lism and even as­sists in heal­ing wounds.

Even bet­ter, Red Es­presso is great for the whole fam­ily: It soothes in­fant colic and has a bless­edly calm­ing ef­fect on kids who tend to­wards act­ing a lit­tle too un­ruly.

And as Carolina Tris­tao, the Brazil­ian cof­fee guru who has re­cently started mar­ket­ing Red Es­presso in Amer­ica, says, ‘It’s a su­per­food that’s in­dul­gent... I’m still wait­ing for the down­side.’


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