More than 300 years ago, Red Tea was a traditional drink of the indigenous inhabitants of the Western Cape in South Africa. The locals harvested the wild plants and produced tea by bruising the spiky leaves with wooden hammers and drying the fermented plants in the sun. The botanist Carl Humberg first reported the resulting beverage in 1772.
Since the early 1900's, Red Tea has been treasured as an elixir for the mind, body and spirit. This rich, red tea came from a wild plant of the legume family called Aspalathus Linearis which grew on the slopes of the beautiful Cederberg Mountains in Cape Town. They believed this tea to have tremendous healing powers, and it is known in South Africa as "the Miracle Tea."
Its commercial exploitation really began in 1904 when Benjamin Ginsberg, an immigrant from Czarist Russia, found the local "mountain people" drinking a particular beverage that they called Rooibos -- which means "red bush" in English and realized that the beverage had trading potential. Ginsberg's family had been in the tea business for many years, and this provided him with the expertise to market this "mountain tea". As cultivation methods were developed, production increased through the years boosted by a shortage of Ceylon tea during World War II.