So what exactly is it?
Rooibos, which is the language of Afrikaans (one of the 10 official languages of South Africa), translates to ‘red bush’ which is exactly what it is. You see it is neither green tea, nor black. The tea comes from the plant ‘Fabaceae’ - the leaves are put through fermentation to enhance the flavours and qualities. It is its own herbal tea and with it comes some exciting health benefits for hot tea lovers! This is not to say that this drink isn’t enjoyed as ice tea too, because it absolutely is.
In terms of taste, it's mild-sweet and earthy. Some have described it as being like hibiscus tea in taste. Preparation-wise, most people prepare it like black tea, either buying the raw tea or Rooibos tea bags - with some people opting for a dash of milk and some sugar. Traditionally, in Southern African countries at least, it is enjoyed with honey.
Caffeine free - safe and delicious for everyone!
Rooibos tea is naturally free of caffeine. As a result, you often see it packaged with a chamomile blend or simply by itself to promote a good night's sleep. This has led to many infants in Southern African countries especially growing up on Rooibos tea at night, as opposed to hot milk or hot chocolate which is typically given to children in the west. For people who are sensitive to caffeine and or want a new alternative hot tea to drink at night, getting hold of some Rooibos could do just the trick.
Health benefits and studies
For a start, it has been shown that Rooibos tea contains less tannin levels than black and green teas and in comparison to black tea, it has absolutely no oxalic acid. It is generally seen as good to avoid excessive amounts of tannin and oxalic acid - this can be a problem for tea lovers, but Rooibos may just cut that out all together!
This tea is also very high in Vitamin C, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and more. Rooibos tea also reportedly has polyphenols, which help battle free radicals in the body and overall keep your body healthy and ticking right. As well as this, there are many unconfirmed reports that this tea aids digestion and sleep.
This is a unique, delicious red bush tea, which can be argued to be healthier than even antioxidant-rich green teas. It can and is enjoyed by toddlers to the elderly and every tea lover in between. For generations in Southern African countries it has been enjoyed, and renowned for its supposed health benefits, long before any studies actually confirmed this to be true - and in recent years it has seen a huge surge in popularity in other countries around the world. It's always worth a try!