The Basics of Rooibos

Rooibos! I just love saying the name! It’s rather fun. “ROY-bos!”

This is a “tea” that has quickly become more popular over the last several years. While it is not actually a tea, it is brewed the same way and can be a lovely caffeine-free alternative to tea.  It comes from the Aspalathus linearis plant and is in the legume family, interestingly enough. These plants are most often found in South Africa and are commonly referred to as “red tea,” or “red bush tea.”


While the local people had harvested and used the needle-like leaves for generations, the Dutch settlers became aware of rooibos in the early 1900’s and began drinking it to replace their usual black tea, which was very expensive, as they relied on many of their supplies from ships traveling from Europe.

Rooibos may be found plain or in a variety of beautiful blends. And it may be dressed up in the same way as black tea – with milk, sugar, lemon or honey.

If you enjoy the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith, you’ll find the character, Precious Ramatswe, enjoying rooibos, on a daily basis.

To prepare, steep your rooibos in freshly boiled water for 2 to 4 minutes. Dress it up any way you like, or leave it as is. And then, simply enjoy!

What do you like most about Rooibos?

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