If we were to make a ranking of the most popular tea, surely along with red and green tea would enter on its own merits rooibos tea. And it is curious because rooibos is the tea that is not tea. Did not you know? Well, don’t worry because that’s why we prepared this article: to explain it in detail.
We will know what rooibos tea is for those who do not already know, and we will also learn some of its most common uses and properties.
And finally, we come to the classic question asked by neophytes: where to buy rooibos tea? Fortunately, as it is an infusion quite consumed in our country, you will have no problem finding it in physical stores and herbalists.
In supermarkets also (usually in single doses), although as always, the greatest variety of brands and specialities you will find is on Amazon.
When buying rooibos tea on Amazon, you should make sure that it is a real infusion of this plant and not a dietary substitute based on rooibos (sometimes happens).
You can also buy rooibos tea in loose leaves to infuse it yourself with any of the teapots or infusers used with conventional tea. You can buy pure rooibos tea in bulk or already mixed with other ingredients to enhance or nuance its flavour.
What exactly is Rooibos tea?
Rooibos or South African red tea is an infusion that comes from the plant of the same name (Rooibos) native to South Africa. In other words, it does not come from the tea tree and has nothing to do with tea. Therefore, the name rooibos tea is incorrect, and we should better speak of Rooibos infusion.
Rooibos literally means, in the native language of South Africa (Afrikaans), red bush. And this is precisely the plant that gives us the rooibos, a small tree with reddish leaves that are the ones we buy in the store to prepare our infusion.
And from here comes precisely the characteristic red-coppery colour of rooibos, which often causes it to be confused with red tea or even with an infusion of berries.
What does Rooibos tea taste like?
Taste is one of the big differences between tea and Rooibos. Tea usually has a bitter taste, and that is why some people sweeten it with sugar or milk, but the taste of rooibos is rather sweet, with a hint of fruity. We have already said on another occasion that this infusion is often confused with berries (the colour also contributes to this, of course).
This is the reason that explains many of its combinations, which are not usually sweet but quite the opposite. For example, rooibos tea combines very well with citrus fruits, as we will see in some varieties below.
Vanilla Rooibos tea
We begin with the review of some of the most common varieties or combinations of Rooibos, which, as we shall see, are not usually the same as those found in the different types of tea.
The first is rooibos tea with vanilla, which are usually normal rooibos leaves with a little natural vanilla flavour. That is: it is a rooibos infusion flavoured with vanilla, which is the most correct in this case.
As we say, it is an extremely popular variety on the market, and therefore you will have no problem finding vanilla Rooibos tea through various manufacturers.
Rooibos tea with orange
Citrus fruits, as we have already said, combine particularly well with Rooibos thanks to the naturally sweet and fruity flavour of the latter.
One of the best ones is the rooibos tea with orange, which is usually made apart from flavours with a small percentage of orange peel or orange rind. In some cases, we can also find rooibos with orange and lemon.
Many users also choose to infuse pure Rooibos (without additives) and aromatize it afterwards with orange or lemon peel, as is the case with some teas.
Rooibos tea with chocolate
Less popular but equally easy to find on the market is Rooibos tea with chocolate, a combination that may surprise at first glance but is very attractive due to the fruity notes characteristic of rooibos.
Chocolate Rooibos tea is made from rooibos leaves with a certain percentage of cocoa or cocoa beans (and usually other additional ingredients as well).
Rooibos Tea: Its essential properties
The benefits of rooibos tea are multiple, and in this section, it is like pure tea. Let us try to summarize these main properties of Rooibos tea in the following list:
- Antioxidant (rich in polyphenols).
- It has a high mineral content in its composition.
- It is beneficial for circulation.
- Relaxing (it has no theine).
- Related to the previous one, it can help us to sleep.
- It is a natural antihistamine.
- It is good for the skin.
How to prepare Rooibos tea with milk
Rooibos is usually prepared in the same way as tea, i.e., you can infuse it in water, add (or not) a little milk afterwards, or be flavoured with citrus fruits such as lemon or orange. Therefore, preparing rooibos tea with milk has no mystery because the milk is added to the infusion posterior and to the consumer’s taste.
Rooibos with milk, or Rooibos latte, is a somewhat different variety, with a lot of personalities, and increasingly popular around the world.
It is made in a similar way to an espresso coffee, as you can see in the following video. We serve the rooibos leaves in the filter holder of our coffee maker (without pressing it), we put it in operation, and we extract the infusion in the same way as if it were a coffee.
Afterwards, the only thing left to do is to add the cream (this depends mainly on your skills as a barista).
Can I drink Rooibos tea to lose weight?
Tea, or rather, certain types of tea, can be good supplements for low-calorie diets. In the case of rooibos, its effects on the metabolism are not so visible, although the antioxidants contribute to deflate the belly and lower abdomen area.
In fact, the benefits of rooibos tea for weight loss come from its diuretic properties (it is a natural diuretic) and because it helps to improve intestinal transit and consequently to avoid unwanted constipation.
Is there a theine-free Rooibos tea?
This is a very frequent trick question, which arises from the mistake that we have already pointed out of considering Rooibos as a tea. Rooibos is not tea because it does not come from this plant, and therefore does not contain caffeine.
As we have already seen in the article about how much theine is in tea, it does not make sense to look for rooibos tea without theine because it does not exist as such. Any type of rooibos you find in a store will be free of the stimulant molecule known as theine.
Is Rooibos tea good for children?
And stemming from the previous section, we have this question which, in our opinion, is not entirely accurate. Since rooibos has no caffeine/theine (in fact, it is not a tea), we assume that children can drink it without any risk. This is not true, and in fact, there are many drinks and foods that are not suitable for children, even if they do not contain caffeine.
However, it is true that some properties of rooibos (fruity flavour, relaxing properties, and absence of caffeine) make it one of the most suitable infusions for children.
Rooibos is often known as “children’s tea“, and of course, it will always be healthier than a soft drink or an industrial juice, but the taste of any infusion is always peculiar, and children will find it hard to get used to. Of course, it will also be more suitable for a first introduction to herbal teas than a tea (even a detox tea) because of the absence of stimulating molecules in rooibos.
So, the verdict is: yes, children can drink rooibos tea, but we prefer not to be in too much of a hurry with the initiation.
Rooibos tea in pregnancy: recommendations
As we said in the case of children, the same applies to pregnant women. As it does not contain theine or any stimulating substance, rooibos tea is suitable for pregnancy, like any other mild infusion.
In fact, it is one of the most frequent alternatives during pregnancy, when coffee or stimulating drinks (tea is also among them) are prohibited.