The Eighth Earl of Teeside
The Eighth Earl of Teeside inherited his title, a very large fortune, and his love for tea which developed during his childhood in India where his father managed vast tea plantations. Known for his innate ability to select only the finest leaves to blend, he rapidly rose through the ranks to manage his own estate.
His love of adventure brought him to Africa and he was often found exploring the Cederberg on horseback with his assistant by his side. He was struck by the youth and vitality of the people in the district. Soon their secret to excellent health was revealed when indigenous people introduced him to the magical properties of rooibos.
Back in Britain after the war he was so famous and eccentric through his love of drinking Rooibos tea with a dab of alcohol, that King George the third invited him for tea. He initially declined as he said he was training an otter to fish.
He achieved fame for blowing a horn at dusk, inviting the poor to his home and serving them food and his special tea.
Pining to return to get back to his rooibos, he returned to the Cape and settled in a hand-built stone house in the Cederberg. The gossip at the time was he carved and carried every stone by hand to build his home from the ground up. Clanwilliam, Graafwater, Citrusdal, Van Rhynsdorp, Nieuwoudtsville and Wuppertal became his playground and he was often seen to be blending wild rooibos in a bag on his hip, bruising them on a flat stone and leaving them to ferment through the natural enzymes in the plant.
On trips to Laaiplek one would often see him lying on the beach with a tall glass filled to the brim with his golden elixir and ice that he scrounged off fishing trawlers and innkeepers.
Anecdotes were spread of him cooking crayfish in a reduction of his “magic” potion and smoking snoek and venison with rooibos leaves, a culinary trick that has caught on lately. Coming back from trips to the seaside, he would bring back salt to combine with crushed rooibos leaves and pepper in order to pep up his eccentric dishes.
By virtue of his legendary stamina and good health, he was often contracted to guide botanists, geologists and miners to the hinterland as far as the Orange River, which shared the colour of his beloved potion. He soon had to share his brew from the flask on his hip as the parties soon realized that his “magic potion” was the reason for his mythical health and stamina.
It had a sweet and fruity taste, no colourants, additives or preservatives and had just enough kick to carry you through tough times.
On his travels, after crossing the Olifants River, he came upon a cave called the Gentleman’s Rest, where the purest water was found. At dusk the mountains took on the most beautiful orange hue, reinforcing his belief in his orange drink.
Brewing his potion with water of this quality and blending rooibos with the best distilled alcohol available, strengthened his resolve to share his recipe with people who might need it in future. He hid a copy of his recipe between the cave and the water source. He died in his boots at Keerom in Namaqualand at the ripe old age of 87 years, 7 weeks and 12 days.
Nearly a century later, adventurers from the Breede Valley found his recipe under a flat rock with his name etched on it and believed his legacy should live on.
After sourcing the best Rooibos available, brewing it with the cleanest water source and blending it with the purest distilled spirits, Earl’s tea is again available to revitalize young and old.
And so the legend goes...