About Rooibos Tea
Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), Afrikaans for “red bush”, is a flowering bush-like shrub that is unique to the Cederberg region of South Africa. Reaching a height of 3-5 feet, this plant has long reddish-brown stems covered with spikey, needle-like leaves. The stems are harvested with their leaves from January to March, and are processed into an antioxidant-rich tea. A symbiotic relationship with root-dwelling nitrogen-fixing bacteria allows these leguminous shrubs to thrive in the highly acidic soil of the Cederberg mountains, some 100 miles north of Cape Town.
[quote]The indigenous people of the Cederberg region have for centuries known about the health-giving properties of beverages made from these shrubs. Pleasantly mild in flavor and naturally caffeine-free, this soothing and relaxing tea has become popular around the world.[/quote]
It is very low in tannins and is used as a natural treatment for babies with colic.
The common red rooibos tea goes through a fermentation/oxidation process before drying, whereas green rooibos tea does not. Green rooibos tea has a more subtle flavor, lacks the reddish tinge and is even higher in anti-oxidants than the red variety. It is also more expensive.
The South African Honeybush (“Heuningbos” in Afrikaans) has properties similar to those of Rooibos.
The flowers smell of honey and an infusion made with the leaves, is sweet and aromatic. There are over 20 species found growing in the wild, in sandy soils, between Port Elizabeth and the Langkloof, in the Outeniqua area near George, in the mountains around Heidelberg and around Yzerfontien and Darling.
- Rooibos Tea Concentrate
- Sugar to taste
- Ice Cubes
- Use a Pyrex measuring jug to make a concentrate of rooibos tea – add 4-5 rooibos tea bags to a cup of boiling water. Set aside to steep and cool down.
- Never add hot/boiling water to a glass water jug as it could easily crack!
- When cool, pour the concentrate into an attractive jug with two to three cups of cold water. Flavor to taste with some sugar or honey (if desired) and fill the jug with crushed ice.
- Garnish with lemon wedges and fresh mint leaves.
Instead of water, fresh orange and lemon juice, lemonade, cranberry, pineapple, peach or mixed berry juice can be added to dilute the concentrate.