BOS Challenge: “I Replaced Caffeine With Rooibos Tea For a Week”

We challenged Jo'burg tastemaker Zodwa Kumalo-Valentine to ditch coffee and drink only rooibos tea for a week. Read her entertaining diary about the experience...

In retrospect, accepting the challenge to give up caffeine for a week and replacing it with rooibos tea might not have been the wisest thing to do during the busiest period in the year. As a freelancer, there’s no such thing as downtime so year endings and beginnings are pretty much business as usual. You will work your fingertips to the bone while everyone is still OOO over December and January and not see a cent of it until April because no one will attend to your invoice until late February. But I digress …

Spoiler alert: I didn’t manage to give up caffeine the whole week but it wasn’t my fault.


Monday: BOS Sends All the Tea

No one is more excited about the BOS tea drop than the two permanent younger residents in the house. My two girls are aged 10 and 13 and ice tea is their go-to drink so the brightly coloured six-packs, collectable tins and boxes that have been delivered are cause for excitement. Plus they both drink tea like grannies so the new rooibos tea flavours are a novelty for them: apple flavoured with mint leaves, orange with ginger pieces, chai spiced blend, and strawberry and vanilla flavoured with real strawberries.

But generally speaking today is not a good day. It’s Monday and I can’t have my regular cup of plunged coffee. Sulking, I lift out the 750g canary yellow bag of BOSpresso and spoon the rooibos tea leaves into my French press.

BOSpresso is made with fine-cut organic rooibos tea, caffeine-free and naturally sweetened. With a glug of honey, I sip the hot and strong tea and forget about my coffee complaints.

Lime and Ginger

Tuesday: “I Know Why You’re Drinking This”

I always envied those TV families who had fridge racks laden with rows of cans of soda and glass bottles of water. Fizzy drinks were a treat in our family and bottled water wasn’t a thing in SA in the 90s so … opening my own fridge to lines of mini cans filled me with superficial glee. And naturally my girls keep asking for a can even after I’ve explained to them that I need to drink them all as part of an experiment I’m taking part in. I invite the girls to choose a flavour – and we crack open a well-chilled can of lime and ginger.

“I know why you’re drinking this,” says my youngest after taking a sip.

“Why?” I ask.

“Because it doesn’t have a lot of sugar!”

“We know you don’t like sweet things,” my eldest chimes in.

They’re partially right. I prefer sparkling water over sodas and I don’t add sugar to my tea or coffee but ice cream is my kryptonite. And I can never say no to gummy sweets. And chocolate.

I head off to an art exhibition – the long-awaited Kahlo, Sher-Gil, Stern: Modernist Identities in the Global South at the Johannesburg Contemporary Art Foundation in Forest Town. While I really enjoyed the guided tour (entry is by booking only) it’s not how I prefer to experience art, personally. I like walking in with no expectations, being handed a little information pamphlet with prices included, a quiet solo stroll around a gallery with my headphones in and a cup of coffee or flute of bubbly in hand, and if the work resonates the option to ask the gallerist or curator a few questions, or do my own research.

No food or drinks are permitted in this particular space, and one guest has to ditch her brew she’d clearly made a point to pick up en route, in the bin.

“Do you want me to keep it for and you can collect it after your tour,” the gallery manager asks her.

“No, it’s ok,” she squeaks hastily taking two last gulps before relinquishing the hot beverage.”


Wednesday: Caffeine Hangover?

I work in an office on Wednesdays. If I can manage to make school lunch, get the kids, and pack my own lunch it’s gonna be a good day. Well, just as I plop myself into my ergonomic office chair at 7.25am, pull out my laptop and make haste to prepare a cup of BOSpresso before my 7.30am meeting, I realise I’ve forgotten to grab the bag before leaving the house.


Americano or cappuccino? It’s a text message from my boss. She’s bringing me a coffee for our meeting. I think I can make an exception here. It’s an emergency.

Back home, the girls offer to make tea and we each pick our preferred flavours.

A cupboard packed with a wide selection of tea from which to choose makes you feel like you’ve unlocked a new level of adulting. Ok, maybe it’s just me.

My choice is orange and ginger – no sugar no milk. It also helps soothe a small headache that has been fraying my edges slightly since yesterday. The teas are rich in antioxidants I read.

You see, I average about three cups of coffee a day. Four if I’m working late – which is often. Could I be experiencing a caffeine hangover of sorts?

Friday: Time For a BOS Rooibos Tea Cocktail

Friday is my favourite day of the week for obvious reasons. But essentially because it’s the only day in the week when I have a larger amount of control of how the day is going to play out. Often it’s taken up by meeting deadlines or admin (vanity admin included) but sometimes a passionate project shifts into focus or a new restaurant or bar needs reviewing.

So after the morning school run, the day is my oyster and thankfully my sister picks up the girls from school every Friday so no rush to stop whatever I’m doing to collect them. Of course, I have been known to drive all the way to school to fetch them only to see my sister’s car already parked outside with the girls loading their bags into the boot. Being a mom who hates being late for a school run sometimes means being on automatic pilot and forgetting to change gears.

Today is not one of those days however and I’ve ditched my car for an uber with the intention of spending a lazy lunch hour at the hot new Acid Food & Wine Bar in Parktown North, sipping on wine I’ve never heard of. Sadly it only opens at 5pm so I sheepishly uber back home and wait for the girls to get dropped off.

This calls for a cocktail. There are a few nice recipes on the BOS website but I decide to whip up my own – a spin on the Paloma: freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, lime and ginger ice tea, lime juice, tequila blanco, egg white for that fancy foam and lots of ice in a shaker. Salud!

Sunday: My Daughter’s New Favourite Tea Is…

We have a few friends coming over so the morning is spent running around getting last minute things such as ice, flowers and cold cuts, cheese and fruit for platters. Nope, I’m not cooking today. One golden rule: Never shop with an empty stomach. We left home in rush to get everything done by 12pm when our people arrive, so of course our growling stomachs lead us to buy a whole lot of nonsense. Ordinarily, I would buy a coffee to hold me over but askiho lapho. 😏

Back home setting up we pull out the mangy-looking blow-up pool that’s been gathering dust while folded up in the garage. I keep checking my fitness device to make sure it’s clocking the exhaustive effort it takes to get the plastic pool up and filled.

Sunny skies, music, laughter, chatter, water … such a perfect day. And yes, the girls can help themselves to as much ice tea as they would like.

How to sum up the week’s BOS challenge? Well, my eldest says the strawberry and vanilla blend is her favourite new tea flavour, and my youngest keeps asking if we’re going to buy more tea when it runs out.

Yes we are, I assure her.

Keen to Try the BOS Tea Challenge Yourself? Shop Our BOS Rooibos Tea Online

Stock up on our different ranges of rooibos tea, including our new Sparkling range, via our online shop.

Photo of Zodwa by Liza van Deventer/Fairlady

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