How to Choose the Best Red Tea Plus Fun Rooibos Tea Recipes
Rooibos tea is a red bush tea from the African continent. It offers a nuanced flavor you can’t get from any other tea. Rooibos tea is cultivated exclusively in South Africa where tea masters cultivate and process the tea to highlight its delightful floral, fruity, and earthy notes.
To discover all this tea has to offer, you want to find the best red teas. This article will show you what you should look out for when purchasing red tea. We’ll also introduce you to the benefits of this tea and give you some great recipes to start experimenting with flavor.
What Is Rooibos Tea?
Rooibos tea is a South African drink derived by infusing leaves from the red bush plant known as Aspalathus linearis in hot water. Rooibos tea is an herbal tea that is naturally caffeine-free. The red bush plant is cultivated exclusively in South Africa and grows only in the Cederberg Mountains, north of Cape Town.
South African rooibos tea comes in two varieties: red and green. Red rooibos tea is the original option and boasts a flavor that is floral and sweet. Pure rooibos red tea is oxidized to produce a rich flavor similar to hibiscus tea and features a maroon brown color. Green rooibos tea is not oxidized and tastes more similarly to green tea and yerba mate. It boasts an earthy flavor and aroma that is preferred by stronger palettes.
Rooibos tea has been used as a natural remedy for the treatment of several ailments. Rooibos tea offers natural calming properties that help soothe stress and induce relaxation. Rooibos tea can also accelerate weight loss by halting hunger and decreasing stress eating.
This South African red bush tea can also improve the appearance of skin. Rooibos tea contain alpha hydroxy acid—one of the main ingredients in chemical peels. Rooibos tea works to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while toning skin. It also boasts anti-inflammatory properties that help soothe skin irritation.
Rooibos tea is packed with antioxidants that can help eliminate free radicals that can cause oxidative damage. These antioxidants known as polyphenols may also help regulate blood sugar levels. Drinking rooibos tea can help boost your immune system and protect overall health.
Rooibos tea has been linked to very few side effects—most of which can be avoided with proper use and consumption. This red tea has demonstrated estrogenic activity, meaning that it may increase the production of estrogen. This side effect is important for people who have breast cancer and other hormone-related diseases. Rooibos tea may also interact with certain medications so it's a good idea to consult a physician before drinking this tea if you have a medical condition.
How to Choose the Best Rooibos Tea
True rooibos tea only comes from South Africa. For the highest quality blends, there should be just one ingredient: rooibos. Many popular Western tea brands such as Twinings and My Red Tea offer rooibos tea blends that include flavorings and other ingredients to play up the flavor profile. Another popular favorite is rooibos masala chai.
While these are delicious and we highly recommend experimenting with flavor (see our recipes below) they aren't true rooibos teas. If you are just learning about rooibos tea, we suggest buying a high quality rooibos tea and learning its unique flavor characteristics before experimenting with blends.
Pure rooibos tea is a rare crop since it is cultivated only in one small region. As a result, there is concern regarding sustainable growing methods and protecting the environment. It is a good idea to buy rooibos tea from producers that have demonstrated fair trade and sustainable growing practices.
Fair Trade certified rooibos teas are grown in a way that promotes farmers' and workers' rights. That means they receive a fair wage, the opportunity to organize, and safe working conditions.
Purchasing organic tea is a great way to protect the environment and future supply of rooibos. The USDA, European organizations, and other environmentally conscious groups such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) offer labels for certified organic rooibos tea. Rooibos tea organic producers only use natural fertilizers and proper environmental management techniques to grow and harvest the plants. In fact, most rooibos tea is grown without irrigation due to the plant's hardy nature.
Loose Leaf Vs. Tea Bags
Loose leaf tea tends to be higher quality than tea bags. That's because the loose leaf variety contains all the healthy compounds and leaves from the red bush plant. Tea bags often contain broken pieces of the leaves, thus limiting its potential for flavor and health benefits. Tea bags also tend to restrict the leaves from fully expanding and infusing flavor. For the best taste, we recommend purchasing loose tea.
Best Red Tea Recipes
We've created these rooibos tea recipes so you can play up flavors and find your new favorite beverage. For all of these recipes, we recommend using loose leaf tea for brewing.
Pumpkin and Caramel Rooibos Latte
- 3 teaspoons organic loose leaf rooibos tea
- 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
- 20 ounces of water
- 20 ounces of milk (almond, rice, dairy, or coconut)
1. Brew the rooibos tea by bringing water to a rapid boil.
2. Steep the leaves for 10 minutes. Move on to the next step while the tea is steeping.
3. Use a milk frother to steam milk until soft and foamy. If you don't have a frother, simply heat the milk on the stove and whisk vigorously until foamy.
3. Scoop the pumpkin puree into tea cups about one-third full. Pour the tea concentrate into the mugs and top with frothed milk.
4. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon and garnish with a slice of pumpkin. Enjoy!
Vanilla Rooibos Iced Tea With Raspberries
- 1 teaspoon loose leaf rooibos tea
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla or 1/2 vanilla pod
- 1 tablespoon raspberry juice
- a small handful of raspberries
- ice cubes
1. Brew rooibos tea and vanilla pod using boiling water and steep for 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
2. Add raspberries, raspberry juice, and ice to a large glass. Garnish with a sugar rim or raspberry and pour in the cooled tea concentrate. Enjoy!
This South African red tea is a beverage that looks stunning when brewed in a mug and tastes delicious. Rooibos red tea uses range from accelerating weight loss and regulating blood sugar to boosting immune health. It’s also naturally calming so it can help melt away the stress of the day. Drinking this beverage all year long can help keep you at the top of your game.
Look for organic and fair trade certified rooibos teas to help protect the environment and promote sustainable manufacturing processes. These are among the best rooibos teas since their flavor isn’t altered by chemicals or additives.
Ditch the black tea for red tea and discover new flavors that will inspire your senses. Start by discovering the nuanced flavor or rooibos tea. Once you get a handle on the floral and fruity or earthy notes, you can mix it up with red tea rooibos blends. Flavor additions such a fruits and spices add a new dimension to this delightful tea.
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