What is rooibos tea?
Rooibos tea, also called Red Tea, is a herb, Aspalathus Linearis, with needle-like leaves grown in the Cederberg region of South Africa. Traditional rooibos is cut, moistened, rolled, and allowed to oxidize. Loose leaf rooibos tea is also available in green, unoxidized variety. Rooibos lacks the caffeine and is rich in antioxidants. It has been consumed in South Africa for ages and now is getting popularity all over the world. Treat yourself with classic flavors like vanilla rooibos and rooibos Masala Chai tea or try it with honey and lemon or milk and sugar.
Health benefits of rooibos tea
Rooibos tea has been the center of attention lately, on account of being associated with a whole range of health benefits. These benefits mainly stem from the caffeine-free, antioxidant-rich composition of rooibos, but are yet to be supported by conclusive scientific evidence. Let’s look at some of them:
- Multiple antioxidants present in rooibos can promote heart health and prevent chances of strokes and cell damage. But studies exploring these effects have as yet been inconclusive.
- Cholesterol regulating properties of rooibos have shown promise and are currently being researched.
- Cancer prevention has recently emerged as a possible benefit of the antioxidants in rooibos tea. However, no human studies to prove this have been conducted so far.
- Rooibos is low in tannin and oxalic acid as compared to black tea or green tea. In alternative medicine, too much tannin is sometimes linked to poor nutrient absorption and too much oxalic acid with increased risk of kidney stones. Neither of these is an established fact, though.
- Rooibos may also help manage diabetes, allergies, and insomnia; improve digestion and promote bone health. These benefits are yet to be scientifically proven.
- The most established and undeniable health benefit of loose leaf rooibos tea is its absence of caffeine. This makes it a great alternative to black or green tea, especially for habitual tea and coffee drinkers looking to cut down on excessive caffeine.
Tasting notes and reviews
Traditional rooibos produces a distinctive brownish-red infusion. Its aroma is earthy and slightly sweet. Rooibos is low in tannins and therefore has a mild taste with no bitterness at all. Its flavor is often described as “honey-like and light”, and “pronounced and rich, but not overpowering”. Rooibos makes for a cup that is “both full-bodied and delicate”, and “can also hold its own, without sugar/stevia”. Green rooibos has a grassier flavor to it.
Rooibos tea, with its soothing honeyed aroma, makes a great base for some delectable flavored infusions. It pairs perfectly with warming spices as well as with fruity and herbal accents. Best flavored blends are crafted with only natural, often organic, botanical ingredients and natural flavorings. Here are the most popular and well-loved rooibos flavored varieties:
- Fruity rooibos flavors are mouthwatering and kid friendly. These types of rooibos blends are crafted with the use of summer berries, mango and apple pieces, often accented with marigold flowers, vanilla, citrus grind.
- Brisk and uplifting citrusy rooibos combines lemon, tangerine, and orange peel with rose hips and lemongrass.
- Rooibos Masala Chai is a classic much-loved flavor. Every tea brand has its own twist on it, but the key ingredients remain the same: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and fennel.
- Chocolate rooibos is nicely sweet without any sugar. Delicious chocolate blends are made with cacao nibs, vanilla and almond inclusions. Accents of mint, rose petals and orange peel add more depth to the flavor. Enjoy this guilt-free indulgence. Great for kids and adults alike.
- Mint rooibos blends are calming and soothing. A comforting mix of rooibos, licorice root, peppermint, and Tulsi makes a great cold weather tea. Good for sore throat relief and a good night’s sleep.
- Green rooibos tea is an unfermented version of Rooibos. This is a slightly pricier variant since additional processing is required to prevent oxidation. It is lighter and grassier than traditional rooibos, and always welcomes fruity and herbal notes.
Does rooibos tea make you sleepy?
Rooibos is a caffeine-free tea, and as such will not keep you up at night. But the absence of caffeine is not the only reason why it’s popular as a night time tea. Rooibos contains two important minerals: magnesium and calcium. Both of these are key to enjoying a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown a correlation between magnesium deficiency and chronic insomnia, while calcium is required in the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. As such, substituting caffeinated teas with rooibos can have a calming effect and improve your sleep quality over time.