South Africa: Landscapes and Redbush Tea
Wide-open grasslands, diverse wildlife, quiet log cabins, the Cape of Good Hope with its choppy waters and the towering Table Mountain— these are just a few highlights of South Africa. Covering a land area of 1.2 million sq.km, the country is surrounded by the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean on its east, south and west sides.
South Africa is famous for its abundant mineral resources, but not everyone knows about South African Rooibos (redbush) tea. Three-hundred years ago, residents of mountainous areas in southern Africa discovered that the needle-like leaves of redbush trees could be made into a refreshing tea. They collected the leaves, dried them in the sun and then stored them. In 1772, European botanists visited the Cape of Good Hope and reported back home about this new tea. In recent years, research has shown that this beverage is good for one's health as well as preventing and treating chronic diseases. During this year's “Colourful World” event, the South African Embassy in China recommended two brands to introduce unique local products, of which one was the up-and-coming tea company “Smash a Cup.”
The redbush tea from Smash a Cup is a fully-fermented black tea made from a shrub indigenous to the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The tea is widely loved in Europe, the United States and Japan, because it is naturally caffeine-free and has various health benefits, and is currently gaining popularity with Chinese consumers.
Smash a Cup has launched a variety of premium South African black teas. It also introduces new flavours and commemorative items to coincide with various seasons and festivals, and makes unique beverages to attract Chinese tea drinkers. During the exhibition, visitors were able to view and enjoy samples of the brand's various drinks.
Another brand participating in the event was ‘‘Babylonstoren,'' a company that specialises in making herbal drinks that have become fashionable amongst locals in South Africa.
South African cuisine also has several unique features. With the arrival of European immigrants, Malay slaves and Indians, a variety of different culinary arts emerged such as fragrant curries, slow-cooked stews, traditional delicacies and barbecues. After enjoying a feast, a refreshing cup of healthy tea really comes into its own. At the event, the South African Embassy treated visitors to local teas, so as to exchange views on their shared culture.
Those who tried the tea were full of praise for its rich fragrance, smooth taste and bright amber colour. Local people like to add milk in the winter, turning this black tea into a nutritious milk tea. In summer, ice cubes, lemon, honey or concentrated juice is added to make a thirst-quenching iced tea.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa. Key events such as the Second Meeting of High-level People-to-people Dialogue exchange mechanism, the 10th South Africa and China Strategic Dialogue Forum and the Seventh Bilateral Committee Meeting will be held next year; and cultural exchanges and multi-level cooperation through various channels are progressing smoothly. Largescale activities such as the “Chinese Cultural Tour in Africa” and “Perceptions of China: South Africa Tour” held in South Africa, as well as participation of several South African art groups in the “International Folklore Festival” and “Meet in Beijing-host Continent of Africa” and other events in China received enthusiastic responses. The South African Embassy in China expressed its warm welcome to Chinese people travelling to South Africa to experience its culture and wonderful events.