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Story Seychelles > Blog > Discover Seychelles Local Beverages: Takamaka Rum, Kalu, Seybrew, and Vanilla Tea

Discover Seychelles Local Beverages: Takamaka Rum, Kalu, Seybrew, and Vanilla Tea

Fruit cocktail and glass of beer with a view of Indian Ocean and Praslin, Seychelles.

The Seychelles archipelago, a slice of paradise in the western Indian Ocean, offers not just breathtaking landscapes but also a diverse array of local beverages including Takamaka Rum, Kalu, Seybrew, and Vanilla Tea.

Takamaka Rum: A Historical Delight

Bottle of rum with lime ice and coconut

La Plaine St. André is the esteemed distillery where the iconic Takamaka Rum is crafted, encapsulating the rich history of Seychelles. This distillery, with its origins traced back to a plantation estate in 1792, has evolved over time, showing visitors a narrative of heritage, culture, and the art of rum-making. Visitors can meander through the museum, indulge in the scents of a medicinal garden, and even interact with the two majestic Giant Aldabra tortoises – Taka and Maka.


Rum, in its essence, is distilled from sugarcane or molasses and aged in barrels for varying periods, which gives it its distinct flavors and character. The process of fermentation, distillation, and aging has been honed over centuries, with origins in various parts of the world, making it a drink rich in history and diversity.


The Takamaka Rum, in particular, carries with it the unique taste of Seychelles, a hint of tropical notes with underlying sweetness, paired with the warmth and depth that only good aging can bring. It’s a mix of flavors that speak of the land from which it originates.


La Plaine St André, throughout its existence, has seen countless changes, from its days flourishing with crops of cinnamon and vanilla to its periods as an art gallery and eco museum. Today, in partnership with the Seychelles Heritage Foundation, the distillery continues its legacy, both preserving its storied past and welcoming the future, offering visitors a journey through time and taste.

Palm Wine: The Essence of Kalu in Seychelles Culture

Glass of Kalu, palm wine from the Seychelles

Palm wine, synonymous with the name ‘Kalu’ in Seychelles, is derived from the sap of coconut palm trees. Kalu has been deeply intertwined with the Seychelles way of life since the early days of settlement. Its importance is not just in its consumption but in the traditions it represents.


The term “Kalu” finds its roots in the Tamil word “Kallu,” signifying the freshly harvested, cloudy, and sweet juice. This sweet sap is carefully extracted from the unopened flower spike of the coconut palm. This spike, protected by a hard outer sheath, is the tree’s source of this delightful liquid. For the sap to flow, it may take anywhere between two to seven days. An adept Kalu collector knows precisely when to place his bamboo container to capture the essence of the tree. The health of the tree dictates how much sap can be tapped. If conditions are right, multiple unopened flower spikes from the same tree can be utilized, offering a sweet and refreshing drink initially.


The initial days after tapping bring forth the Kalu dou, a sweet variant of the drink, almost non-alcoholic and delightfully refreshing. However, as nature takes its course, fermentation starts, transforming the sweet Kalu dou into Kalu pike, slightly bubbly and tangy. As time progresses, within a 24-hour window, this effervescent drink morphs into a potent version with an alcohol content nearing 8%. Each stage of this transformation brings with it a unique flavor profile and experience, cherished and celebrated by the locals.


Traditionally, this beverage is savored in a setting called lakanbiz. Drawing its name from the French term ‘la cambuse’, a lakanbiz could be an open-air gathering or a sheltered shed. The owner of this establishment must have the requisite license to serve this age-old drink, ensuring that the traditions around Kalu are maintained. Kalu has been the centerpiece in various local events, from birth celebrations to funeral wakes, and it continues to play an essential role in Seychelles’ day-to-day life.


While other forms of alcohol might have taken precedence in recent times, the cultural and historical significance of Kalu remains undiminished. Its preparation, consumption, and the traditions surrounding it offer a glimpse into the heart of Seychelles.

SeyBrew: An Iconic Taste of the Seychelles

Two glasses of beer on the beach.

From the heart of the picturesque Seychelles archipelago emerges a beer that encapsulates the essence of the islands – SeyBrew. Since its inception in 1972, Seychelles Breweries has perfected this golden elixir, ensuring that each sip transports you to the pristine beaches and serene landscapes of the region.


Brought to life using world-class malt and hops sourced from renowned regions globally, SeyBrew benefits from a rich blend of ingredients. The brewing process is meticulously overseen, ensuring a consistent and refreshing taste profile, which has made SeyBrew the undisputed favorite beer of many in and beyond the archipelago.


SeyBrew, presents itself with a pristine pale gold hue, drawing immediate parallels with the sunlit beaches for which the region is celebrated.


The aroma of SeyBrew is a dominant blend of grassy and lemony fragrances, subtly hinting at the grainy elements that form its base. Diving into its taste, SeyBrew is an ensemble of well-balanced flavors. There’s a noticeable presence of a light melon tang which seamlessly integrates with its grassy foundation. The carbonation is finely calibrated, complementing the primary flavors and ensuring the drink remains refreshing. As one continues to savor the beer, it introduces a slight yeast note, and the taste experience is further brightened by an underlying citrus hint, reminiscent of a squeeze of fresh lemon.


SeyBrew’s broad appeal isn’t only due to its exceptional taste but also because it tells a story of local craftsmanship, a passion for brewing, and the beautiful land it hails from.

Vanilla Tea: Comfort in a Cup

A cup of vanilla tea.

Vanilla tea, particularly the SeyTé variety from Seychelles, is an indulgent blend that captures the essence of the islands’ rich flora and its culture. The vanilla variant stands tall among the flavors offered, given vanilla’s storied history in Seychelles, a place renowned for producing some of the world’s most exquisite vanilla pods.


The tea’s aroma fills any room with a warm, sweet scent that harks back to the tropical breeze of the Seychelles. Once steeped, the deep amber hue promises a taste that is both robust and delicate. The flavor of vanilla tea is a balance of robust tea leaves and the delicate, sweet undertones of vanilla. It is this nuanced flavor profile that makes SeyTé’s vanilla tea so unique. Each sip offers a brisk taste of the tea and transitions smoothly into the fragrant notes of pure vanilla, leaving a lasting impression on the palate.


What truly elevates this tea experience is the Seychellois tradition of adding evaporated or condensed milk. This practice, borne out of necessity in earlier times when fresh milk was scarce, has now become a beloved ritual. The milk adds a velvety richness to the tea, amplifying its natural sweetness and creamy texture. The result is a comforting brew that pairs wonderfully with pastries or light snacks, making it the centerpiece of many Seychellois gatherings.


Vanilla tea is proof of Seychellois ability to transform simple ingredients into something truly special. Curling up with a book on a rainy day or looking for a calming drink, SeyTé’s vanilla tea is the perfect companion, bringing a touch of tropical warmth and comfort to any moment.

Additional Beverages to Explore

Woman holding a drink on a tropical island.

While Takamaka Rum, Kalu, Seybrew, and Vanilla Tea remain the most popular, other local beverages like Bacca, made from sugarcane liquor, and Coco d’Amour, a coconut liqueur, are worth a try. Also, don’t miss out on other local beers like Eku.


In conclusion, the Seychelles provides not only breathtaking scenic beauty but also a diverse array of flavors and experiences. Whether you’re sipping on the iconic Takamaka Rum, indulging in the local Kalu, enjoying a chilled Seybrew, or relaxing with a cup of Vanilla Tea, this archipelago promises an unforgettable experience.