Rooibos, a South African drink that rivals tea or coffee in popularity both within the country and abroad, is officially on the list of protected designations of origin (PDO) -- as confirmed Wednesday by the director of the South African Rooibos Council, Nicie Vorster.
First used by the Khoisan people in the 18th century for its antioxidant-rich and caffeine-free medicinal properties, South Africa produces about 15,000 tonnes of the characteristically red drink per year.
The delicious and healthy rich red goodness -- brewed from only rooibos leaves grown in the Western and part of the Northern Cape in South Africa, can be sold around the world -- under this coveted designation in the European Union (EU).
The PDO categorisation was established as a way to preserve the authenticity of products from a specific geographical area.
South Africans can be proud of this victory as the appellation application to have the fiery red drink on this exclusive list had been launched ten years prior and rooibos now joins other PDO delicacies such as Champagne, Roquefort cheese and the Greek olive of Kalamata.
South Africa now exports about half its production in bulk to Japan, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
The Rooibos Council is now seeking recognition by the World Trade Organisation to extend the protection of 'red tea' to the global market.
Rooibos, a drink as popular as tea or coffee in South Africa, and which has conquered other markets.