What is Rooibos?
Pronounced, “roy-boss,” and also known as red tea, this is not a 'true' tea. It’s actually an herb (called Aspalathus Linearis) from the legume family!
Rooibos grew wild in the Cederberg region of South Africa - along the western coast, north of Cape Town. Dutch settlers got really into brewing it into tea about 300 years ago as an alternative to the expensive black and green teas that were imported from Asia.
It’s only become a commercial crop in the last 100 years. When you compare that to thousands of years of Camellia Sinensis tea, you realize rooibos is a really young sprite on the tea scene!
Despite efforts to grow it elsewhere, South Africa is still the only country where rooibos will thrive. They boast 450 growers producing the crop and export it around the world for us to enjoy!
How is it processed?
Rooibos is processed similarly to black and green tea, actually!
After harvest, it’s cut by hand and bound into bundles. The bundles are bruised to promote oxidation, which allows the leaves to develop their distinctive colour and flavour. Fresh rooibos is actually green! The more oxidized it gets, the redder in colour and sweeter and richer in flavour it becomes.
How do I drink it?
Good quality rooibos can be steeped a couple of times, and also shares preparation method in common with black tea.
It is recommended to steep rooibos in boiled water (we like a strong 5-7 min steep for this tea), and it's delicious clear, or with milk and sugar.
I've been hearing about the benefits of Rooibos...
Rooibos is naturally caffeine free and has low levels of tannin. Tannin can cause headaches for some people, and interfere with absorption of certain nutrients.
There are claims of rooibos being a source of vitamins and minerals, but this is not the case. It is very high in antioxidants which protect against cancer, heart disease, and stroke. That being said, studies show rooibos raises your body’s antioxidant level for a short time.
We hope now that your brain is full of knowledge about our favourite herb, you'll enjoy sipping rooibos tea even more.
Fine art. Modern history. Totally delicious!