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All About Rooibos

Posted by Lisa B Gardner on

Rooibos which is pronounced ROY-bos, whose scientific name is Aspalathus linearis, also known as “red bush”, grows in South Africa.


Rooibos is used to make herbal tea called rooibos tea, bush tea, redbush tea or red tea, depending upon where you’re from. It has been popular in South Africa for generations and is now being consumed in many countries. Generally, the leaves are oxidized which produces the distinctive reddish-brown color of rooibos and enhances the flavor. Unoxidized "green" rooibos is also produced, but the more demanding production process for green rooibos (similar to the method to produce green tea) makes it more expensive than traditional rooibos. It carries a malty and slightly grassy flavor somewhat different from the regular rooibos.
In South Africa rooibos tea is prepared the same way black tea is prepared and milk and sugar are added to taste. Some preparations include banana or a slice of lemon and using honey instead of sugar to sweeten.
Several coffee shops in South Africa have recently begun to sell "red espresso", which is concentrated rooibos served and presented in the style of ordinary espresso. This has given rise to rooibos-based variations of coffee drinks such as red latte and red cappaccinos. Iced tea made from rooibos has recently been introduced in South Africa, Australia, and in the United States. A variant of a London Fog, known as a Cape Town Fog, can also be made using Rooibos steeped in steamed milk with vanilla syrup.
Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries, particularly among health-conscious consumers, due to its high level of antioxidants and lack of caffeine. Rooibos is also has low tannin levels compared to both black and green teas. Rooibos is said to aide nervous tension, allergies and digestive problems as well. Traditional medicinal uses of rooibos in South Africa include alleviating infantile colic, allergies, asthma and dermatological problems.

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