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The superb taste that lovers of African Dawn Rooibos enjoy, celebrates the end of a long journey a journey that originates in the fertile soil of Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate in the Clanwilliam region, and years later finds completion in the cup.  All along this journey, quality travels as a faithful companion.
Rooibos seedlings are cultivated in an outdoor nursery. This is the only stage in its life cycle when the plant is irrigated.  Seed is directly sown into the ground during February, and seedlings are transplanted into plantation from July to August.  One kilogram of seed yields on average between 10-18 hectares of plantation.
Growth Stages



The first year :

: seed is sown into beds.
July/August : seedlings from the nursery are transplanted into the tea plantations.

The second year :

: bushes are cut down to 30 cm above ground level to attain a uniform height.

The third year :

January March
: only 18 months after the sowing/transplantation phase, the tea is ready to be harvested.


Rooibos is harvested for the first time approximately 18 months after being transplanted from the nursery. During the harvesting process two-thirds of the bush is cut off, either by hand with sickles or with custom-made harvesting machines. Rooibos bushes are harvested once a year during the hot and dry summer months of January until April. A normal rooibos plantation will last for three to four harvests before the plantation is cleared.
Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate has been a leader in the development of machine harvesting technology in the Rooibos industry.  The late estate director, Oubaas Engelbrecht, with his team of workers, have developed and produced various machines over the last decade to help improve harvesting methods. This has shifted the harvesting process from being very labour-intensive to a more mechanised procedure.  At the end of 2008 the latest rooibos harvesting machine, the Van Rheenen , was launched. The machine was named after a family of farm workers that has been working with the Engelbrecht family for more than five decades.

One of the big advantages of mechanical harvesting is that there is much less stress on the bushes, because of less handling. The bushes are more uniform and the regeneration process commence earlier than in hand-harvested plantations.
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