Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is part and parcel to Africa in the same way that tea (Camellia sinensis) is part of China. Born out of the Cederberg Municipality in South Africa, rooibos is in fact a legume, the herbal infusion created from its broom-like boughs a deep amber hue that's earned it titles like redblush and red bush tea. It’s popularity in America is often attributed to it being a caffeine-free alternative to Camellia sinensis, though this does a disservice in neglecting rooibos’s distinct flavor: earthy, nutty, subtly sweet, often with rounded citrus and vanilla notes, the home blender would be remiss to ignore rooibos and its distinct ability to play well with others.
Rooibos’s history is somewhat debated. Its origins as a product enjoyed in a precolonial time remains a matter of cultural narrative held by the Khoi and San peoples, though no reason or evidence suggests we defer away from the knowledge held by indigenous peoples. With that said, archeological records indicate that rooibos was used thousands of years ago and, while its application as an herbal infusion for that long may be up for debate, it was certainly tea-ified hundreds of years ago, and for that we are grateful.
Rooibos has two varieties: red and green. In the production of green rooibos, much like with traditional green tea, the oxidation process is halted to encourage those younger, grassier notes. Red rooibos is what people imagine when they think of traditional rooibos and our South African Red Rooibos is a perfect introduction into the rooibos world. Rooibos’s ability to be a blenders best friend means that we also offer a number of mixed delights: Red Chai Rooibos, Cinnamon Orange Rooibos, Honey Rooibos, and Turmeric Ginger Rooibos.
Rooibos has benefits in parallel with more traditional Camellia sinensis, but where it shines is in its caffeine-free offering, making it not only a perfectly reasonable before bed beverage, but a wonderful alternative for expectant mothers as rooibos is considered a pregnancy-safe offering.
Rooibos is steeped for 4-5 minutes using boiling water.