Our organic, Fair Trade Certified rooibos (pronounced ROY-bus) is an herb native to the beautiful Cedarberg region of South Africa. Our superior grade rooibos has small needle-like leaves that yield a dark red infusion with notes of honey, apricots, and mesquite wood and contains no caffeine.
The tasty aromatic infusion of the wild Aspalathus linearis plant was discovered at the turn of the 19th century. It was originally harvested by hand, chopped with axes, and bruised with hammers then left to ferment before drying in the sun. Now, due to demand, rooibos is cultivated rather than collected from the wild. Rooibos seeds are planted in February and March and tended for 18 months, after which they are harvested. Cut rooibos is bound and milled to a uniform length then bruised between rollers to trigger the fermentation process, which results in its characteristic flavor and sweet aroma.
Ingredients: organic South African rooibos
Serving Size: one level teaspoon per 8 oz cup of water
Aubrey Says: I like rooibos as a base for flavorings, because it has no astringency and leaves a sweet, slippery feeling on my palate.
Jeremy Says: Rooibos is just as versatile as tea for flavoring and blending, and can be a nice, caffeine-free change of pace.
Posted by Yen-Wen C. on 6th Mar 2014
It doesn't take much tea to brew a pot! The tea is naturally on the stronger side to us. We cut half of the amount and it worked out great! It's earthy and slightly sweet. We add a little honey... lovely taste!
Since this tea is not flavored, while we were drinking we had some baked apple chips in hand, so we add little apple pieces to it and let it sit for a while (=let the apple hydrate with tea) The tea is really yummy with a little sweet apple twist!!!! The apple tastes so good with a hint of tea! Win win!!
Posted by dimitra on 17th Feb 2013
I found this tea to have quite a distinct, strong flavor, worth trying if you are looking for an herbal tea. It has a earthy, slightly smokey flavor. I also find it complements the herbal crimson tea as well (will steep 1/2 tsp of each).
Posted by Alise on 10th Dec 2012
When there are so many delicious flavored Rooibos teas out there, plain old Rooibos tends to get overlooked. Don't overlook this one! This is simply amazing. It has a warm, slightly sweet, ever so slight spice undertone and is exceptionally smooth. You can mix this with lemonaid for that popular iced half and half blend. Also, Rooibos is rich in the antioxidant compound quercetin which imparts benefits to the heart, helps to reduce the risk of various types of cancers, fights viruses and is significantly anti-inflammatory. This is just the tip of the iceberg so to say when it comes to health benefits of this awesome tea. If you do a bit of research I'm sure it will be one of your favorites too. It tastes delicious and is good for you. One of my favorites for sure!
We at Arbor Teas firmly believe that tea should be brewed to suit your personal taste. With that being said, here are some recommendations to get you started, but please remember you can make adjustments based on your own personal taste.
There are three main considerations when brewing tea: quantity of tea, water temperature and steeping time.
Quantity of tea: one level teaspoon per 8 oz cup of water
Water temperature: use water that has been heated to a full rolling boil (212° F)
Steeping time: 5-7 minutes
Tip #1: Use fresh water whenever possible - water that has been sitting in your kettle overnight may impart a flat or stale taste to your tea. Be careful not to boil your water for too long. Over boiled water can sometimes impart an unwanted taste.
Tip #2: Rooibos, unlike tea from the plant camellia sinensis, does not get astringent with longer brew times. So if you happen to steep longer than 7 minutes, don’t worry! Your rooibos will gain more flavor, but it will never become astringent!
Learn more from our step-by-step guides on how to brew loose leaf tea, how to make iced tea, and how to make tea lattes. And don’t forget to check out our Eco-Brewing Tips, too!
Rooibos tea originates from the leaves and stems of the indigenous South African plant Aspalathus linearis. In contrast to tea from the plant camellia sinensis, rooibos is naturally caffeine free and low in tannins. Tannins are what give tea from the plant camellia sinensis its astringent (mouth puckering) property. Because rooibos is low in tannins, its brew has very little astringency.
Antioxidative activity has also been attributed to rooibos on the basis of its flavonoid content! Often, customers will ask us "Does Rooibos have more or less antioxidants than tea?" Unfortunately, at present conflicting evidence is found comparing the levels of antioxidant activity in rooibos with antioxidant activity in tea from the plant camellia sinensis. One method of analysis found rooibos to have antioxidant activity less than green tea, but greater than black tea. In contrast, another method resulted in antioxidant activity less than all tea from the plant camellia sinensis.*
*Source: "Comparison of the antioxidant activity of rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) with green, oolong and black tea " by A. Von Gadow et all, Food Chemistry, Volume 60, Issue 1, 1997.
For a more in-depth discussion of Tea and Health Benefits check here.
For a more in-depth discussion of Tea and Caffeine check here.
The word “rooibos” comes from the Afrikaans language and means “red bush,” which incidentally is a very apt description of the plant. Other names for rooibos are “bush tea,” “red bush tea,” “South African red tea,” or simply “red tea”. Rooibos isn’t actually a tea plant in the technical sense, meaning that it’s not derived from the Camellia sinensis like black tea, green tea, etc. It’s actually a legume: a bean plant called Aspalathus linearis. The leaves and stems are harvested during the summer and then left to “ferment” (technically “oxidize”), a process in which, among other things, the leaves shift from a yellow appearance to the characteristic red color (that said, unoxidized rooibos, or “green rooibos“, is also enjoyed).
Drinking rooibos “tea” began with the Dutch. Black tea was en vogue in eighteenth-century South Africa, but due to technological limitations, it was exceedingly difficult to import, leading the Dutch settlers to seek an alternative. That alternative, naturally, was rooibos, the indigenous peoples’ drink of choice. This tea-alternative remained popular in South Africa for a couple hundred years, but didn’t become a commercial crop until the early 20th century.
A gentleman named Benjamin Ginsburg immigrated to South Africa in 1904, and, being the scion of a prominent family in the European tea trade, was immediately interested in rooibos. Ginsburg borrowed traditional Chinese methods for curing tea, and perfected the art of curing rooibos. Since he could never properly cultivate the plant, Ginsburg was forced to rely on native farmers to bring it down from the mountains until the early 1930’s, when he convinced Dr. le Fras Nortier to attempt rooibos cultivation in the lowlands. After years of experimentation, Dr. Nortier succeeded, and the Klein Kliphuis farm became the first rooibos tea farm. Since then, rooibos has grown to become somewhat of a worldwide sensation, steadily growing in popularity, due to its taste and suggested health benefits.*
*Source: South African Rooibos Council
For information on other traditions or to submit your own tea tradition visit our Tea Traditions section.