Everything You Need to Know About Rooibos Tea
If you’re looking for a refreshing alternative to traditional green and black tea, then Rooibos tea may just be the perfect drink for you! From its sweet honey taste to its distinctive red colour, this South African staple has been growing in popularity over the years. Take a break from more traditional teas or coffees and learn all about what makes this brew so special.
Rooibos tea has been grown in South Africa for centuries and is now becoming increasingly popular around the world. This naturally caffeine-free, red herbal tea is derived from the leaves of the Aspalathus Linearis plant – a bush native to South Africa's Western Cape. Rooibos undergoes a unique fermenting process, which helps this herbal tea keep its distinct flavour intact.
The History of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea, or red tea as it is known in South Africa, has been a part of South African culture for centuries. It was first discovered by Khoisan tribes who used to make tea from the leaves of the Rooibos plant and boil it in water. After being dried, these leaves would be mixed with honey to sweeten them up and then brewed into a delicious drink.
The popularity of this unique tea spread over time and eventually made its way to European traders who shipped it back home to countries like England and Ireland. From there, Rooibos was used for centuries as a medicinal remedy for a wide variety of illnesses such digestive problems, headaches and insomnia. However, now African red tea is enjoyed around the world simply for its taste.
Cultivating Red Bush Tea
Today, Rooibos tea continues to be produced in South Africa's Western Cape area where it goes through various processes before it is ready for consumption. After the leaves of the Rooibos plant are harvested from the bush, they are left to oxidize naturally in the sun and then cut into small pieces. Following this step, they are vacuum sealed and sent off for packaging before being exported around the world.
There has been little success growing rooibos outside of South Africa. It has always been cultivated in the mountains of the Cederberg region of the country however, due to increasing demand, efforts have been made to grow rooibos in areas with similar climatic conditions.
These attempts have proved to be a challenging feat as the Rooibos tea plant is sensitive to its environment and requires specific conditions to thrive. Despite the difficulties, enthusiasts and researchers continue to explore ways to successfully grow this miracle plant beyond the borders of South Africa, potentially expanding its reach and providing sustainable cultivation for future generations.
What Does Rooibos Tea Taste Like?
Rooibos tea offers a unique taste experience that sets it apart from traditional teas, like black or green tea. It is often described as sweet with a slightly nutty, almost caramel-like flavour that is both smooth and full-bodied. Its natural sweetness makes it an enticing choice for those who prefer a less astringent taste, and the hints of vanilla and honey contribute to its overall soothing and comforting aroma. It can be enjoyed on its own or blended with other ingredients like honey and lemon to enhance its natural flavour.
Benefits of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea offers a myriad of potential health benefits, making it a popular choice for tea enthusiasts worldwide. They include the following:
It is naturally caffeine free: This means you can enjoy a delicious cup of tea without worrying about the jitters or a crash associated with caffeinated drinks. This herbal tea can even become part of your nightly ritual.
- Rich in antioxidants and minerals: Studies have shown antioxidants may combat the harmful effects of radicals and protect against oxidative stress.
- Low in tannins: This tea is low in tannins. So as a result, it can help reduce acidity levels in the body.
- Calming effects: Many people turn to rooibos tea for the emotional benefits it offers. Those seeking relaxation after a long day, like to indulge in a cup of herbal tea. While others claim it can soothe the digestive system and alleviate discomfort.
A unique and flavourful tea experience: Since rooibos is not made with tea from the camellias plant it has a unique flavour which is unlike black tea, green tea or other herbal teas.
Green vs Red Rooibos Tea
Green rooibos tea is made from the same Aspalathus Linearis plant as red rooibos tea, but it has undergone a few extra processing steps. After the leaves are harvested, they are steamed instead of left to oxidize in the sun like red rooibos tea. The steaming process helps to stop the oxidation and preserve the green colour of the leaves. Green rooibos tea has a more delicate flavour than its red counterpart and is often described as having notes of grass, hay or even seaweed similar to green tea.
The antioxidant levels in green rooibos tea are higher than those found in red rooibos tea due to its lack of oxidation. As a result, green rooibos is becoming more popular around the world due to its distinctively sweet taste and purported health benefits.
Is it OK to Drink Rooibos Tea Daily?
The good news is, it's generally safe to drink rooibos tea everyday in moderation. It is a naturally caffeine-free and hydrating beverage that many people work into their everyday rituals. However, it is possible for people to experience minor digestive issues such as bloating and gas when drinking excessive amounts of this tea. As always, it's important to speak with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet or lifestyle.
Does Rooibos Tea Make You Sleepy?
Rooibos tea has a calming effect and it is naturally caffeine-free, making it an ideal choice for those looking for a night-time beverage. It contains chemical compounds that that can help relax the nervous system and induce deeper sleep, such as quercetin and luteolin. Additionally, rooibos tea is high in magnesium which is essential for a good night’s sleep. So if you are having trouble sleeping, sipping on some traditional rooibos tea before bed may be just what you need!
Rooibos Tea Blends
Rooibos tea blends beautifully with other flavours and ingredients. Check out the following rooibos tea blends from Clearview tea.
- Creamy Vanilla Rooibos tea: Vanilla and rooibos bring out the best in each other. Take pleasure in a cup of creamy vanilla rooibos tea. Rooibos tea is full bodied and slightly nutty. Paired with vanilla, this decadent herbal blend gives off a sweet and comforting aroma.
- Raspberry Vanilla Rooibos tea: Raspberry and vanilla combine to create a delicious and sweet rooibos blend. If you enjoy our Creamy Vanilla Rooibos, then you will love this blend! It has the smooth and creamy flavour of vanilla, with the added sweetness and refreshing taste of raspberry.
- Chai Rooibos tea: A rich, aromatic spice blend lends sophistication to the subtle rooibos base of this chai rooibos tea blend. The addition of ginger delightfully offsets earthy cardamom and the nutty taste of rooibos to add depth to the blend.
How to Prepare Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea is an incredibly versatile and delicious beverage that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It is simple to prepare, making it ideal for both experienced tea drinkers and those new to the experience.
Hot Rooibos Tea
The most common way to prepare rooibos tea is warm with hot water. Here's how you can prepare hot rooibos tea:
- Bring filtered or bottled water to a boil, then let it cool for about 5 minutes if needed.
- Place 2-3 teaspoons of rooibos leaves into your cup or teapot. Feel free to add additional herbs, spices, or dried fruits (e.g., lemon, honey) for enhanced flavour.
- Pour the boiled water over the rooibos leaves and let steep for 3-5 minutes (or longer if desired). If using a teapot, make sure to cover it while steeping so that the flavour doesn’t evaporate too quickly.
- Remove the teabag or strain any herbs and enjoy!
Cold Brewed Rooibos Tea
If you prefer cold beverages, you can easily make a delicious iced tea from the rooibos by following these steps:
- Make a hot cup of rooibos tea as directed above, but double the amount of leaves used and steep for longer than usual (7-10 minutes).
- Allow the brewed tea to cool completely before transferring it into an airtight container and storing it in your fridge overnight or up to 48 hours max .
- When you're ready to enjoy your cold rooibos tea, simply pour over some ice cubes and add any desired ingredients such as lemon slices or honey for added flavour!
How to Make a Rooibos Tea Latte
If you're looking for a delicious and wholesome treat, a rooibos tea latte might be just what you need. Rooibos, blends perfectly with the creamy texture of a latte, creating a comforting and guilt-free refreshment.
To make your own at home, start by brewing a strong cup of rooibos tea by letting it steep for a longer time than usual to extract the robust flavour needed for the latte.
While your tea is steeping, gently heat a mixture of milk and vanilla extract on the stove - this can be cow's milk or any plant-based alternatives you prefer. Once warm, froth the milk using a handheld frother or by vigorously whisking it in a large jar.
Pour the brewed tea into your favourite mug and top it off with the frothy milk. For an extra touch of indulgence, sprinkle some cinnamon or cocoa powder over the foam.Your rooibos tea latte is now ready to enjoy!
How to Store Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea should be stored properly in order to maintain its flavour and optimal freshness. It is best to store your rooibos tea in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, heat or humidity.
It should be kept in an airtight container or jar to keep out any moisture, which will reduce the chances of oxidation and preserve its flavour for longer periods of time. When storing rooibos tea, be sure to avoid areas with strong odours (such as spice drawers) as they can easily be absorbed by the tea leaves and affect its taste.
If you have opened your bag of rooibos tea, try to use it within 3 months for best results. However, if you want your rooibos tea to last longer, it is best to freeze it. Place the tea leaves into an airtight freezer-safe bag or container and store them in your freezer for up to 8 months without any significant loss of flavour or aroma. Before using, simply allow the tea to thaw at room temperature before brewing.
Now that you know how to store and prepare rooibos tea, you can enjoy its delicious flavour and health benefits any time! Whether it's hot or cold, sweetened or plain, drinking rooibos tea is sure to please both experienced tea-drinkers and those new to the experience. So go ahead – give this amazing drink a try and explore all the delicious possibilities that rooibos tea has to offer!