I’ve always been a true tea drinker. While I may try a tisane here and there, for the most part, I’m only interested in Camellia sinensis. There’s one exception I regularly make, however – rooibos. When I’m out and about, I often get a lot of questions about rooibos, so I thought I’d address a few topics about my favorite non-tea tea.
The name “rooibos” is Afrikaans for ‘red bush,’ referring to the signature red color of the dried leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant. It’s grown solely in the Cedarburg Mountains of South Africa and has been enjoyed there for centuries. It’s believed that the ancient Khoi and San people of South Africa were the first to drink rooibos, harvesting the leaves with axes and leaving it to dry in heaps in the sun. Early Dutch settlers started drinking rooibos as an alternative to expensive black tea. It wasn’t until the early 20th century, however, that rooibos was exported out of South Africa. And it wasn’t developed commercially until the 1930s. Its popularity expanded from South Africa to the rest of the world.
It’s easy to see why.
Rooibos is a unique herbal tea, with a full, rounded mouth-feel and flavor. The taste invokes honey and vanilla, with a natural, earthy sweetness. The brew is a beautiful deep red color, much like the color of the bush itself. And unlike tea, rooibos has no tannins, which means that it can be steeped for long periods of time without bitterness. In my opinion, steeping rooibos longer only makes it taste better…if you can be patient enough to not start drinking it as soon as possible.
To me, that’s enough, but it’s also good for you. Its high antioxidant and flavanoid content is similar to tea, and it’s also been known to assist with allergies and digestive problems. In South Africa, rooibos has traditionally used to sooth colic in infants, as well as for help with asthma, allergies, and skin problems.
Our Rooibos is organic and Fair Trade, and we have a few options. In our Original collection, we have Rooibos – Red Bush Tea.Rooibos – Herbal Infusion + Vanilla, from our Gourmet line, blends the rooibos with organic vanilla that pairs perfectly with rooibos’ natural sweetness and vanilla notes. We also offer a loose, whole leaf Rooibos.
If you’ve been looking for something different, rooibos may be just what you had in mind.