Posted in Kafevend Blog
I really should just start putting the title as 'tisane'. Rooibos tea/tisane is made from the leaves of the Rooibos bush, a thick, green shrub bearing yellow flowers. The plant is found specifically in the Western Cape, a province laying on the southernmost shore of Africa. It belongs to a unique ecological region known as fynbos that covers this particular area and is known for its incredible biodiversity. Honeybush is also found here, and likewise is used for making tea.
Attempts to grow the Rooibos shrub in other areas of the globe have failed, and so the southern tip of Africa is responsible for all of the rooibos tea produced in the world. Two types of rooibos tea are produced, a less processed green tea, which ironically is harder to make, and the more well known variety which is oxidized, producing the strong red colouring. As well as being enjoyed as a tea, rooibos has also recently been used to make coffee-like drinks. Concentrated rooibos can be used to make a “red” espresso, along with red lattes and cappuccinos.
As you might have suspected, rooibos' rising popularity in the Western world is due to the usual suspect, health. It contains antioxidants, low levels of tannins and no caffeine, and also purports to relieve nervous tension, digestive problems, etc. I've had the chance to try some rooibos tea, in the form of Twinings' 'Warming Winter Infusion' blend. I have been enjoying it very much, though I get the feeling that the taste of the rooibos is possibly being slightly overpowered by the cinnamon- not that I'm complaining- it's pretty good!