Everything You Need To Know About Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea is a medicinal herbal infusion that is indigenous to South Africa and can be drunk as a black tea alternative. Although it’s been around for over 300 years, only somewhat recently has this crimson-hued tea gained popularity. Packed with nutrients, rooibos tea has many health benefits, which is why it’s getting renewed attention.
Read more to find out about this herbal infusion’s interesting origins, how it’s made, the benefits of drinking this tea and how to brew it!
What is Rooibos?
Rooibos, actually pronounced as ‘roy-boss’, is not actually tea per se, as the Camellia sinensis plant, which is used to make black tea and green tea, is not used in this instance. Instead, rooibos is made from the leaves of a plant in the Fabaceae family. This herb is native to the mountainous regions of South Africa and the leaves have broom-like quality with a close resemblance to pine needles.
Although rooibos does not come from the tea plant, it is handled in a very similar way. The leaves and the tender stems are handpicked, sorted into bundles and then bruised or cut slightly to promote oxidation. The oxidation process helps the leaves release their essential oils which give the leaves a rich flavour and colour. Like black tea, the longer the leaves are oxidised the deeper the colour and richer the taste.
Rooibos also has a green tea alternative, which is called green rooibos tea. For this tea, the leaves are oxidised for a shorter period of time, and are steamed and dried immediately. Since the leaves aren’t fermented for too long, they retain more antioxidants than red tea would. Green rooibos tea has a grassy flavour to it.
Origin of Rooibos
The brewing of rooibos often referred to as ‘red bush tea’, was popularised by the Dutch settlers in South Africa during the 1700s. This red infusion was used as an alternative for black tea as it was rather expensive to import. However, rooibos was commercialised in the 1930s and then again in the 1990s after the invention of green rooibos tea. During the early 2000s, a rooibos powder was made that could be drunk as a healthier espresso alternative since rooibos tea is caffeine-free. The powder also makes it easier to infuse the distinct rooibos flavour into meals.
Health Benefits of Rooibos
The native people have been using rooibos for its medicinal properties. However, that tradition was forgotten for some time until there was renewed interest in this herb’s healing properties. Rooibos tea has many benefits, especially if it's organic tea rooibos as it is rich in antioxidants and is naturally caffeine-free. Here are some of the health benefits of rooibos:
Rooibos tea benefits the skin, it can help reduce wrinkles and tackle eczema if used topically. A study compared cosmetic products that are infused with herbal extracts like soybean, ginkgo and rooibos and found out that rooibos aids in reducing the formation of wrinkles while ginkgo moisturises the skin.
This crimson drink is calorie-free so drinking rooibos tea is beneficial for weight loss. While you can drink a moderate amount of rooibos tea without any side effects, you must couple it with a good diet and regular exercise to reap the full benefits.
Tannins are naturally occurring compounds in plant-based food and drink like black tea, green tea and red wine. Unlike these drinks, rooibos has a very low level of tannins which is beneficial, as tannins can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron. A study found that drinking as much as six cups a day did not have any negative effect on the body’s iron content.
Another reason why rooibos tea is good for you is because it’s entirely caffeine-free, making it a great tea alternative for pregnant women or those who suffer from insomnia. For people who face adverse effects from caffeine such as jitters and increased anxiety, rooibos is a good alternative.
How to Brew Rooibos
Rooibos can be brewed in a style very similar to brewing black tea. It is always best to follow the brewing instructions on the package, but here is a general outline on how you can brew rooibos tea.
- Boil 220 ml (one cup) of spring water to a temperature of 95℃ - 100℃.
- Add one teabag of our rooibos flavours or 2.5g tea leaves to the hot water. If you’re using loose rooibos leaves, you will need a tea strainer or infuser. Cover the teacup with a saucer and let it steep for 3-5 minutes, until the hot water turns bright red.
- Rooibos is a full-bodied drink and it’s best consumed as is, but you can also enjoy it with a splash of milk and some sugar or honey. You can also enjoy rooibos as an iced tea which is perfect for the summer months.
A Rooibos Infused Recipe
Rooibos has a very unique flavour which makes for a lovely drink, but it is just as delicious when infused into a dish. Try Dilmah Organic Rooibos Spiced Chicken which is sure to be a hit at any dinner party.
- 1 tablespoon of Dilmah Rooibos
- 2 pieces boneless chicken breast
- Carrots, celery, leeks and onions (cubed)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika powder
- Dried thyme
- 100g cubed potato
- Brew the Rooibos. While the infusion is being steeped, season the chicken with salt, thyme and paprika. Once the rooibos has cooled, pour it over the chicken and let it marinate for a few minutes for the flavour to set in.
- Place the chicken in a pan and fry in olive oil over a low fire.
- Add the vegetables and potatoes and fry with the chicken.
- Serve the fried chicken on a bed of vegetables and enjoy!
Rooibos is a wonderful drink to have at any time of the day, which is only made better by its many health benefits. For your own cup of rooibos, shop online.