Although it is not a true tea, rooibos can make many forms that mimic the worlds most popular beverages. Grown and primarily consumed in South Africa, this tisane can be found in everything from Rooibos Chai Lattes to Rooibos Frappuccinos. One of the things the beverage is popular for is having a taste that can’t be properly described.
I liken it to the taste of cedar, but many have disagreed with this. Because the taste can’t be described, it gives you all the more reason to try it for yourself. Once you try it, please be sure to leave a comment below about what you think it tastes like or what it reminds you of.
This tea is grown in South Aftrica in the more Mountainous region of the Western Cape. The origins of this plant come from Dutch settlers. Because the land was too dry to grow traditional camellias, the Rooibos plant was used as a substitute. It was plentiful and its taste was reminiscent of a black tea. The plant itself is very dry and broom like. When the tea is harvested the plant is cut with a tool similar to a wheat thresher and then it is pounded flat and left to bake in the sun. The plant turns much darker and then is ground up and oxidized even further. At the end of this process, it is left with its characteristic dark red coloring. This is why it is called “Rooibos”, which is derived from the Dutch word for “red bush”.
The tea on its own is worth trying, however what is even more fun is playing around with this amazing beverage in the kitchen. Cafes in South Africa are beginning to fully tap into the potential of this plant and the different drinks they make with it are beginning to spread all throughout the world. The Cape Town Fog is a variation of the London Fog that is made with Rooibos instead of Earl Grey and is really quite good. You can also add some cinnamon, cloves and milk to the rooibos and you will get a chai latte with no caffeine and less bitterness. The potential of this plant is endless and it makes a great addition to your cooking inventory. It is not only a healthy beverage option, but also a fun one as well because of the never-ending supply of recipes you can try to recreate.
For this tisane, I would recommend starting to go for value in the beginning. This will give you time to familiarize yourself with the taste and begin to experiment with different ingredients. Don’t mess around too much with the Teavana Rooibos blends, I never really liked any of those anyways. Just see if you can purchase a small quantity of the herb from an organic source and you should be able to find a good one. Here are a few options that will give you a lot of value for your money and allow you to try this unique flavor for yourself without spending much money.
If you do end up wanting to simply brew the tea plain at first, the brewing instructions are as follows: Boiling water (particularly if you want to add milk in later) steep up to 5 minutes. Unlike Black tea, Rooibos is not tannic, which means it does not become bitter with extra steeping. Another fun fact is because it does not have tannins in it, it does not interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron so this tea can also be sipped with a meal unlike other teas.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about Rooibos. Remember to share your Rooibos experience with the rest of us by commenting below! Also share a few recipes you liked if you can.