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Rooibos Tea

Updated on January 24, 2012

Rooibis Tea - How and why you should drink it.

What exactly is Rooibos Tea and how do you drink it? Where can you buy it? What does it taste like? Does it have any health benefits? Rooibos Tea (also known as "Bush Tea", "Red Bush Tea", "South African Bush Tea" or "Red Tea") not surprisingly originates in South Africa. The people of South Africa have drank Rooibos Tea for many years, although it is only now catching up in other parts of the world with the other herbal tea varieties available. You can both drink this tea and use it in homemade spa treatments. Read on to explore this healthful tea variety.

Red Tea

is another name for Rooibos Tea.

Rooibos Tea's Special Qualifications

A 'Protected Designation of Origin Food'

This Time article from March, 31, 2010, lists Rooibos Tea in its list of Top 10 Protected Foods.

The foods on this list all have been designated as 'Protected Designation of Origin' by the European Union. This means that only foods coming from a specified geographic area can call themselves by their name.

Top 10 Protected Foods

  1. Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb (UK)
  2. Prosciutto di Parma (Italy)
  3. Rooibos Tea (South Africa)
  4. Roquefort Cheese (France)
  5. Champagne (France)
  6. Vidalia Onions (United States)
  7. Darjeeling Tea (India)
  8. Tequila (Mexico)
  9. Kobe Beef (Japan)
  10. Cachaca (Brazil)

Rooibos tea was used by the indigenous Khoisan tribe of South Africa. They bruised the leaves of this shrub with hammers, fermented it and left it to dry in the South African sun. Botanist Carl Humberg was introduced to this tea by the Khoisan tribe in 1772. Russian immigrant Benjamin Ginsberg began marketing Rooibos tea as "mountain tea" back in 1904, espousing its benefits as an herbal alternative to black tea.

Rooibos tea's popularity didn't develop until after 1970, with Annique Theron's book "Allergies: An amazing discovery."

This book was the work of Theron's research on the tea's healing properties: she had been using Rooibos tea to help her infant child with both colic and insomnia.

ALLERGIES an Amazing Discovery
ALLERGIES an Amazing Discovery

The 1970 book by South African mother Annique Theron, detailing the health-promoting properties of Rooibos tea.


A long brew time

makes your rooibos tea taste even better!

A cup of rooibos tea
A cup of rooibos tea

How Do You Drink Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea is naturally sweet and nutty so no sweeteners are required. It is traditionally drank with milk and sugar in South Africa though. Rooibos tea can be served iced or hot. One thing is for sure however, the taste of Rooibos tea improves when you brew it longer.

Make Your Own Iced Rooibos / Hibiscus Tea

Here's everything you need (aside from the garnishes and tea scale) to make your own iced Rooibos and Hibiscus tea as per the video instructions above. Enjoy!

Rooibos Iced Tea Cocktails
Rooibos Iced Tea Cocktails

Rooibos Tea Cocktails

I came across the following recipes for rooibos tea cocktails. Drinking your red tea in this way might diminish its health benefits, but it sure looks yummy!

Rooibis Sangria
Rooibis Sangria

Rooibis Sangria

Rooibis Sangria Ingredients

  • 3 rooibis teabags
  • Castor sugar or honey
  • 2 mangoes, diced
  • 2 limes, peeled and diced
  • 2 oranges, peeled and diced
  • 2 bottles red wine
  • 250 ml brandy
  • 1 liter soda water

Rooibis Sangria Preparation

Using the rooibis tea bags, prepare 1 liter of hot rooibis tea. Add the caster sugar or honey and allow for it to dissolve. Remove the teabags and leave the tea to cool. Add the chopped fruit, wine and brandy to your rooibis tea. Chill the mix and add ice and soda water prior to serving.

Rooibis Gluhwein
Rooibis Gluhwein

Rooibis Gluhwein

Rooibis Gluhwein Ingredients

  • 2 Rooibos tea bags
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 Lemon Rind
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • Ground Cloves
  • Sugar
  • Sugar

Rooibis Gluhwein Preparation

Prepare half a liter of rooibis tea using the tea bags. Add the sugar, lemon rind, cinnamon sticks and ground cloves to the rooibis tea and boil the mixture for 2 minutes. Add the red wine and bring this mix to the boiling point again. Remove the tea bags, cinnamon and lemon rind. Serve your rooibis gluhwein.

What Varieties of Rooibos Tea Are Available

  • Chocolate Chai - has a ginger flavor with cardamom and citrus as well as dark chocolate chips. This is a dessert tea and an excellent immune booster (dark chocolate has extra antioxidants to add to those already in the rooibos leaves).
  • Peach Rooibos - has peach and other fruit added. This variety is never fermented nor oxidized and is limited to a small growth area within the Cederberg area of South Africa's Western Cape.
  • Rooibos Bourbon - gets its name for the Bourbon Islands in the Indian Ocean and not the liquor! The taste of Rooibos Bourbon has a hint of vanilla.
  • Green Rooibos - has its fermentation period end after the cutting of the leaf, has an earthy flavor and is good served either hot or cold.

Green Rooibos Tea

is also available but requires a heftier fermentation process and thus also carries a heftier price tag.

A little African Ambience for this South African Tea

African Drumming, an interview with an African tea importer on the Rooibos variety and a demonstration of how to make a Rooibos latte. What more could you ask for?

Health Benefits

Rooibos tea is organic, naturally caffeine-free and high in antioxidants.

The Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea

  • Caffeine Free - You can drink this tea at night and still get a good night's sleep. Also, whereas caffeine dehydrates, rooibos tea replenishes you.
  • Low tannin levels - You can steep rooibos tea for long periods of time without it getting bitter (tannins make for bitter tea). Rooibos tea actually improves in taste the longer you leave it to steep.
  • High Antioxidant Content
  • - One of these is called Peroxide Dismutase (SOD) that mimics the activity of free radicals, thus limiting their consequences. Rooibos' antioxidants are beneficial to heart health, minimizing cholesterol builup and preventing clots.

Tea Accessories on eBay - Strainers, Pots and Infusers

Search on eBay for your tea accessories and you might find yourself a deal. To get the best taste and full health impact of Rooibos Tea, you'll want to drink the loose variety and for that you'll need the proper equipment. Here are some featured items being auctioned online at eBay right now.

Preparation Methods For Rooibos Tea

can include traditional steeping, serving as iced tea or preparing as an 'espresso' or latte drink with an espresso machine or French press.

Naturally sweet and slightly nutty

is how the taste of Rooibos tea is described.

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Have you ever drank Rooibos tea before? Where did you try it out and how long ago did you discover it? Are you drinking Rooibos tea for the taste, the health benefits or both? Do you like the taste? What is the best brand you've tried? Anything you'd like to comment about this variety of herbal tea is welcome here!

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Your Experience With Rooibos Tea

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    • profile image

      Connielausenpappas 5 years ago

      I discovered Red Rooibos tea through a company I am now affiliated ganoexcel. Not only does Red Rooibos tea have twice the antioxidants of green tea but ganoexcels Red Rooibos tea is enriched with ganoderma lucidum (red reishi) as well. So you get the extra boost of antioxidants and phytonutrients too. . . . It is helping through a total hysterectomy with flying colours . . . helps me relax and unwind in the evening and I drink it cold all day. Great detox for the body, mind and soul. If you care to try our Red Rooibos tea please get in touch and I can have it delivered direct to your door at wholesale prices. Cheers Connie

    • DesignedbyLisa LM profile image

      DesignedbyLisa LM 5 years ago

      What a great lens! I love tea, I drink it all the time. Rooibos is a particular favorite, since I can have it at night without the worry of it keeping me up.

    • dawngibson lm profile image

      dawngibson lm 6 years ago

      I've been drinking it for two years, and I really enjoy it.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 7 years ago from Concord VA

      My husband started drinking roobois tea about 6 years ago when a friend gave him a box that he got from Africa when visiting his daughter there. We now buy it in a local grocery store, but it's not quite as good. My husband drinks it hot for breakfast and he loves it, but I didn't really care for the flavor.