Contact: Prof Dalene de Beer​

The rooibos and honeybush sensory wheels serve as quality control and communication tools. The wheels provide industry role players with a tool to understand exactly what constitute the "characteristic aroma and taste" of these South African herbal teas.

The first generic rooibos sensory wheel, develop in 2011, was revised in 2017 to illustrate the relative importance of positive and negative aroma attributes in terms of intensity and occurrence. Aroma and palate sensory wheels for green rooibos were developed and released to industry in 2024.    

For honeybush tea, generic and species-specific sensory wheels were developed. The 2012 generic honeybush sensory wheel, compiled from the data of several Cyclopia species, was revised in 2020, based on a large sample set of C. intermedia ("bergtee"), C. subternata and C. genistoides. The generic sensory wheels do not capture the slight differences in the aroma profiles of the different Cyclopia species. For this reason, an aroma wheel was developed for C. intermedia, providing the bulk of honeybush production.

2024 Green Rooibos Aroma Wheel.JPG 

2024 Green Rooibos Aroma Wheel


2017 Rooibos Aroma Wheel

2020 Honeybush Aroma Wheel

​​HoneybushSensoryWheel.jpg2012 Honeybush Sensory Wheel 
​2017 Cyclopia intermedia
Aroma Wheel

(High quality copies of the sensory and aroma wheels can be requested by sending an e-mail to:


  1. KOCH, I.S., MULLER, M., JOUBERT, E., VAN DER RIJST, M., NAES, T., 2012. Sensory characterization of rooibos tea and the development of a rooibos sensory wheel and lexicon. Food Research International, 46, 217-228, DOI:10.1016/j.foodres.2011.11.028

  2. THERON, K.A., MULLER, M., VAN DER RIJST, M., CRONJE, J.C., LE ROUX, M., JOUBERT, E., 2014. Sensory profiling of honeybush tea (Cyclopia species) and the development of a honeybush sensory wheel. Food Research International, 66, 12-22, DOI:10.1016/j.foodres.2014.08.032

  3. BERGH A.J., MULLER, M., VAN DER RIJST, M., JOUBERT, E., 2017. Optimisation and validation of high-temperature oxidation of Cyclopia intermedia (honeybush) – From laboratory to factory. South African Journal of Botany (Special Issue), 110, 152-160, DOI: 10.1016/j.sajb.2016.11.012

  4. JOLLEY, B., VAN DER RIJST, M., JOUBERT, E., MULLER, M., 2017 Sensory profile of rooibos originating from the Western and Northern Cape governed by production year and development of a rooibos aroma wheel. South African Journal of Botany (Special Issue), 110, 161-166, DOI: 10.1016/j.sajb.2016.08.005

  5. DU PREEZ, B.V.P., DE BEER, D., MOELICH, E.I., MULLER, M., JOUBERT, E., 2020. Development of chemical-based reference standards for rooibos and honeybush aroma lexicons. Food Research International, 127, 108734, DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2019.108734

  6. DE BEER, D., HUMAN, C., DU PREEZ, B.V.P., MOELICH, E.I., VAN DER RIJST, M., JOUBERT, E., 2024. Development of sensory tools for green rooibos (Aspalathus linearis (Burm.f.) R. Dahlgren) and changes in quality attributes during shelf-life storage. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, DOI: 10.1002/jsfa.13593​