Mma Ramotswe and Redbush (Rooibos) Tea

Mma Ramotswe and Redbush Tea:  A Review

For those of you not familiar with Mma Precious Ramotswe of Botswana, let me introduce you!  She is the delightful, “traditionally built” (fat) heroine of the equally delightful detective series, written by Alexander McCall Smith:  The Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency.  I have read every single one of this series, and am eager for more, do you hear me Mr. McCall Smith?                                  

Do you remember that wonderful movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy?” with the Bushmen of the Kalahari?  Well, Botswana borders on the Kalahari, and so even though the Bushmen are nomads, some can be found in Botswana as well, where they call them the San people.

Where is Botswana?

Botswana is a small, landlocked country in Southern Africa, bordered by the Kalahari Desert to the west.  It is near to Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa.  It is mostly a dry country, but it also has periods of rain in the “rainy season”.  Botswana, from what I understand, now has the largest, protected elephant population in Africa.  They are very protective of their animals and lands, and poachers are not welcome here.


Botswana was formerly called the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and was a Kingdom, ruled by a long, unbreaking link of Kings in that region.  It became a Protectorate under the U.K. when it was threatened with invasion by the Boers and Germans in South Africa.  It was renamed Botswana in 1966.

Rooibois (Redbush) Tea

Anyway, enough history.  In this modern era, according to the series, Mma Ramotswe and her Assistant Detective, Grace, practically live on Redbush Tea, drinking about 7 cups each per day!  Rooibos (pronounced Roy-bus) originates in South Africa.  This tea is called just “bush tea” in local areas, but because of its now worldwide popularity, it is more and more being called Redbush or Rooibois Tea.  The leaves of this bush are fermented, leading to the recognizable reddish color.

This Redbush (Rooibos) Tea, is brewed the same way as black tea, and traditionally served with milk and sugar.  Nowadays, more people are drinking it with lemon and honey.

The global reach of Rooibos is now so huge, that many, many tea companies have their own version of this tea.  One particular favorite of mine, is the Revolution Tea brand of Rooibois, both flavored and unflavored.

When I first tasted Rooibos tea many years ago, I wasn’t sure if I liked it!  It was the unflavored kind, but to me if felt as if I was drinking a hot infusion of sweet cedar chips!  I was not really impressed.  But, as I got more into exotic teas, and tried more varieties of Rooibos, I really began to love it!  Matter of fact, I’ve been drinking Revolution’s Redbush/Caramel Tea while writing this blog post.

Mma Ramotswe and Grace (Precious and Grace) Mma Ramotswe No. 1 Ladies Detective AgencyThe No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Anyway, Precious and Grace, swear they do their best thinking and detective work, over a steaming mug of Redbush tea.

Then, they go out and catch the villains!  Not real villains like we’re used to in modern day detective fiction, but villains for their part of the world — cattle stealers, straying husbands, thieving contractors, troublesome mechanics,  talking shoes, all very gentle and philosophical!  Never any violence, unlike most modern day detective series.

What I also love about this series, is the certainty Mma Ramotswe feels that Botswana is the absolute center of the Universe!  She, and other residents there, know that other places exist, and in fact they have fairly strong feelings about places like South Africa or Swaziland, but Botswana is where their heart and soul is, and they don’t want to live anywhere else!

Precious and Grace also drink Redbush tea with a series favorite, Fruit Cake.  I was so enamored with the descriptions of them chowing down on this dense fruit cake, that I set out to create my own recipe.  I didn’t have to though, because the Redbush Tea Company came out with their version, and here it is!


Mma Ramotswe’s Fruit Cake Recipe

9 oz. Mixed Dried Fruit                                               4 oz. Chopped Almonds

9 oz. Soft Butter                                                            7 oz. Granulated Sugar

4 Eggs                                                                             11 oz. Flour

4 oz. Corn Flour                                                            3 Teaspoons Baking Powder

Grated Rind of One Lemon                                        Icing Sugar to Dust 


Grease a 10 inch Baking Tin.  Preheat Oven to 180 Degrees C.

Cream Butter and Sugar together.   Add eggs one at a time, mixing in each one thoroughly before adding the next one.  Sift flour, corn flour and baking powder over butter mixture.  Once blended together, add fruit mixture, almonds and lemon rind.  Pour batter into baking tin, smooth over the top of the batter.

Bake for 1 Hour, 15 Mins.

Remove and cool.  Dust with icing sugar.

I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but being a chef, I would be inclined to add one-half cup milk or coconut milk, to prevent it from being too dry.  I also will use raisins, dried apricots, cherries and dried plums, as my dried fruit!   Let me know your own version as well.  Enjoy a nice thick slice of Fruit Cake, with your own pot of Rooibos Tea!  I will let you know how my version of the eponymous Fruit Cake came out.  I am looking forward to trying this, and also implementing in my tearoom, a regular Mma Ramotswe day, where we discuss the books, look at slides of Botswana, and have a Botswana style tea, including of course the Fruit Cake!    🙂

Other Versions of Rooibos (Redbush) Tea

There is also a “green” Rooibos Tea, is processed differently from the red Rooibos tea.  To get green Rooibos, the leaves from the bush are treated to prevent oxidation, so it doesn’t develop the reddish color, and the tea taste is lighter, fresher more grassy. It is never bitter, and like its sibling, has no caffeine, little tannins and a slight cinnamon flavor.  Adagio Teas, that creative tea line, also has a wonderful Green Rooibos Loose Leaf Tea, as well as the regular red Rooibos Loose Leaf Tea.

The Republic of Tea, also has an amazing Green Rooibois Tea and also a wonderful Double Red Rooibois Tea! You must really get to know this tea line, they are absolutely superbAnd, they are conveniently packed in their, unbleached flow through bags for ease and convenience.  Tea bags today, are not the heavy, bleached harmful bags of yesteryear.  The convenience for some, is that you don’t need to have a teapot to brew these teas, but you still get all the wonderful, aroma and taste.

The aforementioned Revolution Tea, also has the wonderful Honeybush Caramel, in flow through bags.   These newer flow through bags, are not like the old tea bags of yesteryear (still to be found in some tea companies).  These flow through bags are made from a light, eco-friendly material, tend to be pyramid shape, and allow for the fullness of  tea development, without the mess.  I highly recommend them, as a good alternative to loose leaf teas sometimes.

I cannot emphasize how wonderful and fortunate it is that we are living in a time when tea is appreciated and the ever growing tea market means that we can have myriads of teas to try, just by clicking a few convenient buttons, most of the time.  Hooray for the love of tea!  Please, follow along and let’s continue this exciting tea journey together.


So now, we have a few different Rooibos Teas to choose from and sample.  I hope you have a wonderful time with your sampling.  You may want to give yourself a pat on the back while doing so because tea can improve your health in so many, many ways!

  • Promote digestionBob Marley
  • improve the immune system
  • help prevent inflammation
  • help prevent disease
  • great for the skin

Happy Sipping!  Please share your experiences with all of us in the Comments Section below, and also please suggest which of the many teas you might like to hear more of.  Thanks for the follow, and may your journey be filled with peace and joy.





















  1. I have always like detective stories like Sherlock Holmes and such. It is interesting how you its linked for the detectives, precious and grace do their best thinking and detective work, over a steaming mug of Redbush tea. I am also a fan of Tea so this combination goes really well for me. There are so much benefits in drinking tea and the list you provided is really good! 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Leo,

      Thanks so much for your comments on my post! I loved writing the article, because I truly love that detective series. I also like to travel (mostly online), so I feel I almost know Botswana and the people now. Some day I’d like to go there in person.

      Tea is now my life, as I have a tea shop and catering business. Glad you liked the list of benefits I posted, but as you know, there are even more.

      You might want to take another look at the site, because I just posted some more pictures on it.

      Thanks again for your comments, and all the best with Wealthy Affiliates.


  2. This is a great article. I am an avid tea drinker, and have drank Rooibos tea before but did not it’s origins. I will have to get some for my home now.
    I also enjoyed how you related this to a story of the detectives. That was fun.
    Good job and thank you for the information.

    1. Author

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for your comments! I had so much fun writing this article, because I really love that Ladies Detectives series. I also find that I am truly enjoying blogging.

      I hope you get the book and see for yourself, you’ll probably be as hooked as I am.

      I also went back and added more pictures of Botswana, because I had to add in the Amazon widget, so you might want to take another look at the updated site.

      Wish you all success here at Wealthy Affiliates, and thanks for your feedback.


  3. I have drunk Rooibos many times and know it is the best-tasting tea without caffeine. Interesting to hear how it’s linked to a fictional detective and how it improves his cerebral detecting skills. I’ll definitely add some to my tea cabinet and make it a regular drink along with my Matcha green tea.
    Thanks for the lovely read.

    1. Author

      Hi Mark, thanks for your comments on my post. Glad you found the read interesting, the series is even more interesting and has gained many, many fans over the years. Yes you should absolutely stock some Rooibois tea to keep your green tea company! Btw, the detectives are women, not men. 🙂
      Wishing you all health and success, Pat

  4. I absolutely love the Ladies Detective Agency books and have encouraged friends to read them over the years! I had actually forgotten that Mma Ramotswe and Grace used to live on redbush tea and I hadn’t associated it with rooibos tea (which I also love).

    Funnily enough, I have just written a new post on my travel blog about places I want to visit and Botswana was one of them!

    1. Author

      Dear Louise,

      Thanks so much for your comments on my site. Glad to meet a fellow Ramotswe lover and yes, I too, would love to visit Botswana in person. I travel there a lot on the computer, and through the series.

      Yes, the bush tea that the two women famously drink all day is Rooibos or Redbush. What a wonderful tea it is. I would love to read your travel blog, if you’d like to send me a link, and much success to you with it.

      All best,


        1. Author

          Hi Louise, I loved your travel blog, it certainly brought back memories of France for me! But what was the faux pas? I missed it. Anyway all the best with your travels, are you going to all the places listed? Great for you! I wish I could travel broadly, but I have to settle for armchair traveling most of the time, so people like you do the real thing for me! 🙂 Keep enjoying yourself, and all the best! Pat

  5. Hi Pat,

    Enjoyed reading your article especially the history bit as it reminded me of a lot of things. I am originally from Zimbabwe and not far from Botswana and I have watched a couple of series of ‘The number 1 ladies detective’ as well as ‘The Gods Must Be Crazy’. My mum is a big fan of redbush tea and drinks it all the time.

    1. Author

      Hi Melanie,

      Thanks for commenting on my post. I am so glad you enjoyed it, and I plan on doing many more, so I hope you will follow along. Nice that you are from Zimbabwe, where do you live now? I am so keen to actually visit Botswana, thanks to Mma Ramotswe and her attitude that Botswana is the center of the Universe! Lol! I do visit by computer though.

      Do you also like redbush tea?

      Best wishes to you,


  6. Very nice post. I am a tea fan every since I was in high school. There is nothing like a arm cup of tea in the morning! I have head of redbush tea but I was wondering if it is caffeine free? Also, have you heard about a tea company called the “Tea Capitol”? I have been getting many of my exotic teas from hear and I just love them! Would love to hear more of what you think about them! Happy brewing!

    1. Author

      Hi Liz, lovely hearing from you, and thanks for taking the time to comment. Glad to meet a fellow tea lover. Redbush tea is caffeine free. The green version of this tea may have a tinge of caffeine. Yes, I have heard of Capital Teas! The female co-founder is a descendant of a famous Sri Lankan tea planter, so she knows her teas!

      Happy brewing to you too. Pat

  7. I absolutely LOVE Rooibos tea and drink it all the time. I love the fact that this is from Africa and your post really served to explain the history of this delicious tea. I don’t put lemon or milk or honey in it, and prefer to drink it “black”. I haven’t tried the green rooibos tea yet, but after reading your post, I think I will try it out. The fact that the redbush teas are caffeine-free is an added bonus for me, as I can enjoy them into the evening. Where can I get the Republic of Tea brand?
    Thanks for such great information!

    1. Author

      Hello Amy, thanks so much for taking the time to comment on my blog, and for the nice things you said! I’m so glad that you love Rooibos tea, which is so wonderful and very good for you, as you know! In order to buy the Republic of Tea brand, please just click on their teas highlighted in my blog, and you can purchase them there. I think you will also love the green rooibois, and there is also a version with coconut, if you like a tropical flavor! Thanks again for the follow, please keep following and adding your input, for the benefit of us all. Happy Easter.

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