Let's Talk About - Rooibos
Rooibos Tea (Scientific name: Aspalathus linearis) is unbelievably underappreciated. Not only is it tasty on its own, it also has a wide variety of options of how to serve it. With or without milk, honey, sugar, lemon, or on its own? There are so many ways to enjoy the tea.
Also known as "Red Bush", Red Tea or Bush Tea, this herbal tea originates in South Africa, where it has been a popular beverage for generations. Due to it being caffeine free, it is quickly finding its way into homes all over the world.
The tea itself has an almost nutty, sweet and fruity taste and due to it being low in tannins, it also doesn't have a bitter after taste that a lot of other herbal teas characteristically have.
Historically, Rooibos was cultivated by the indigenous inhabitants of South Africa more than 300 years ago. It is first recorded by Botanists, who were introduced to the tea in 1772 by the Khoi people. It was in the 1930s that its first crop was cultivated and the commercial journey of Rooibos began.
The type of Rooibos you get can depend on how it is processed. Oxidised Rooibos results in the beautifully red Rooibos commonly consumed. Alternatively, Green Rooibos is unoxidised which can end up tasting a bit more malty and grassy. Because the process for producing Green Rooibos is more complex, it does tend to be a more expensive product.
Oxidation is referred to as a "fermentation" process. It is during this fermentation process that leads to the Rooibos developing its ruby red colouring. This process is similar to the way that it was originally processed by the indigenous people, which involved bruising the leaves and letting them dry in the sun.
People today may drink Rooibos, believing it to have health benefits such as being high in antioxidants. Due to its lack of caffeine, it can be popular amongst those who experience caffeine sensitivities or even just those who would rather avoid it.
At the end of the day, rooibos tea is delicious, it's comforting, and it's definitely worth a taste!