Our Story

Innovation lies at the heart of our business

In 2005 we created the world’s first Rooibos tea espresso as a naturally caffeine-free alternative to coffee for people who were unable to drink caffeine or looking to reduce their caffeine intake. We created a range of café-style Rooibos drinks and became famous for our much-loved Rooibos red cappuccino® and red latte®. Since then we have created our own delicious blends of many of the world’s favourite drinks – from chai lattes to gourmet hot chocolates – through our passion for quality ingredients and great tasting drinks.

Meet our Co-Founders

How it all began

In 2005 Pete and Monique Ethelston left their successful corporate careers behind and went backpacking through the Himalayas on honeymoon. While sitting in an internet café in Kathmandu they received an email from a long-time business partner and friend of Pete’s inviting them to try a Rooibos espresso upon their return. Monique, a tea drinker and health guru, and Pete, an entrepreneur and avid sportsman, were both intrigued by this idea of a healthy alternative to coffee made from herbal Rooibos tea that grows only in their native South Africa.

Pete and Monique had already decided to combine their passions for health, wellness and economic upliftment to start a business together. After just one sip they were hooked. And so was Monique’s brother, Nic Reid, a coffee junkie who was finishing up his studies in Cape Town and well-known on the local coffee scene. United in their belief in the product as a genuinely healthy alternative to coffee, they developed the unique coffee style drinks such as the red cappuccino and red latte that have made red espresso so famous. They made their first batch of red espresso which Nic sold from the boot of his car to their first 1000 café customers.

Made the exact same way as a coffee cappuccino and latte, on the same coffee appliances, they pioneered healthy café culture and created a brand-new beverage category. This earned them 8 international awards, including Best New Specialty Product 2008 at the Specialty Coffee Association of America Show where they made history as the first tea and first South African company ever to win an SCAA award. That same year the World Tea Expo honoured them with a Top Ten Best New Product award too.

Curious about whether their red espresso truly was a concentrated shot of rooibos goodness, they took it to the Cape Peninsula University of Technology Antioxidant Research Unit to have its level of antioxidants tested. What they discovered was more than they had hoped for – not only did their red espresso rooibos contain 10 x more antioxidants than a cup of regular rooibos tea, it also had 5 x more than green tea!

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