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Redbush, Rooibos - African Red Tea Explained

There’s no need to beat around the bush, whether you pronounce it roy-boss or roy-booze, the delicious taste of redbush tea is a versatile caffeine-free tea that makes a great substitute for your everyday cuppa. 

Redbush, Rooibos - African Red Tea Explained
Western Cape province of South Africa

Where Does Rooibos Tea Come From?

Grown exclusively in the Western Cape province of South Africa, in a small, mountainous region known as Cederberg, Rooibos is a broom-like plant that survives by growing its taproot up to 3m down in the soil! And as a result, it produces needle-like leaves and yellow flowers that have been used by native Africans for centuries. Thanks to the specific climate, where temperatures range from sub-zero in the winter and to over 40°C in the summer, this mountainous plant thrives and creates the perfect ingredient for that all-important cuppa.

Rooibos tea really found its roots in tea from 1902 and into the twentieth century and is now consumed by over 37 countries worldwide, making it a pretty big deal in the local South African economy and culture. The leaves are green when picked, and after they are chopped and bruised, they’re left out to dry naturally in the sun – during which time they turn red. And whilst you might be mistaken for thinking it’s the redbush that makes it red, it’s actually the fermenting process that turns this tasty tea into its heavenly crimson shade. As with other teas, Rooibos leaves undergo an oxidizing process which produces its distinctive reddish-brown colour (which is why it has so many “Red” nicknames) and enhances its nutty, smoky flavour.

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What Does Rooibos Tea Taste Like?

So, what does redbush tea actually taste like? Rooibos has a nutty, full-bodied flavour that is both refreshing and a great herbal substitute for your everyday tea and coffee. It stands alone and still achieves a full colour, taste and aroma. Rooibos is the only infusion that goes really well with milk – just like with your “normal” tea.

Being naturally caffeine-free (the plant leaves that are used are 100% naturally caffeine-free!) and less than 4 calories a cup, it also makes for a great kids’ teatime drink – lovely with a little milk and honey.

Cederberg landscape South Africa

How to Brew a Cup of Roo

Rooibus is brewed like a black tea, steeped in boiling water. It’s hugely versatile and can be brewed like your normal cuppa, served over ice, or even as a milky chai tea - like this delicious Spicy Chai with Rooibos

  • For a normal hot cuppa, use 1 teaspoon of rooibos leaves for every 200 ml of water.
  • Pour boiling water over the leaves and leave to steep for up to 3 minutes - giving it time to unleash its full potential.
  • Add milk and honey to taste.
  • Simply refrigerate to create an iced-tea treat.
How to Brew a Cup of Rooibos
Redbush/rooibos loose leaf tea

Variety Is the Spice of Life

There are so many different blends of rooibos tea, whether you’re an avid fan of this pretty red tea or you fancy mixing up your daily cuppa and including a cup of caffeine-free deliciousness, here are a few of our favourite rooibos blends to choose from:

Orange really enhances that red bush tea flavour and when combined with cinnamon, well you’ve got yourself a taste sensation right there. Warming, refreshing, but with a little sweetness. Try our Orange and Cinnamon Flavoured Rooibos Infusion.

Elevate your everyday brew with our decadent golden rooibos and caramel tea (in our loose leaf pyramid bags, no less) rich, indulgent but with just the right level of sweetness. Try our Golden Rooibos Caramel Pyramid Tea Bags.

Rich, red, and caramel velvet flavoured loose leaf red bush - if you want to step up your daily tea with some loose leaf luxury then this is the blend for you. Try our Redbush Caramel Velvet Flavoured Loose Leaf tea.

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