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Rooibos boasts a light, earthy tone and a natural sweetness that is instantly recognizable. But no two blends are the same — from green rooibos to the traditional red formula; there’s a whole world of rooibos waiting for you to discover.
But let’s dive further into this tea to give you an all-over picture of the history, the taste, and even the benefits.
Rooibos Tea: An Overview
Hundreds of years ago, indigenous Bushmen harvested rooibos leaves to use in remedies to treat all kinds of illnesses. Drinkers loved the taste of the medicine, but as the Bushmen tribes faded out, so did people’s knowledge of rooibos.
But then 1772 hit, and Carl Humberg, a botanist, discovered the leaves and reignited the passion for rooibos. He spread the awareness further than before. But it wasn’t until 1904, when a Russian immigrant with brewing and manufacturing connections started marketing the drink, that it became globally popular.
What Does Rooibos Taste Like? A Flavor Profile
Now, let’s dig in and consider how to best answer the question — what does rooibos taste like?
Despite the intense red color sported by rooibos when brewed, the flavor isn’t like black tea. It has two overriding flavors with very subtle notes.
The standard rooibos blend has a natural sweetness that’s instantly recognizable, alongside light, earthy notes. It’s often known as the marmite of the tea world — you either love it or hate it.
However, green rooibos (a variation of the traditional blend) is a far more delicate brew. It’s almost vegetal and lightly resembles green tea.
The Top 5 Benefits of Rooibos Tea
Rooibos boasts plenty of benefits. But you can find the top 5 most important below:
#1 Improves Digestion
Illnesses like acids reflux, Celiac disease, and long-term upset stomachs are increasing every year. While many digestive issues are linked to unhealthy eating patterns and processed foods, you can soothe your digestive tract with rooibos tea.
The antispasmodic nutrients found in the tea prevent stomach cramps, as proved by a study found in the Basic Clinical Pharmacology Toxicology Journal. The same paper revealed the tannins found in rooibos tea also reduce diarrhea.
#2 Enhances Skin Appearance
Alpha hydroxy acid, a component of rooibos tea, is a primary element of dermatologists’ skincare treatments. However, it’s not very common in edible substances, making rooibos tea unique.
A clinical study performed over 28 days discovered rooibos drinkers benefitted from a 10% improvement in fine lines and wrinkles. It’s suggested the tea’s soothing effect reduces redness and irritation to achieve an even skin tone. Scientists say the zinc found inside can help heal common skin conditions too.
#3 Builds Strong, Healthy Bones
Rooibos tea contains fluoride, calcium, and manganese, which help build bone mass by boosting osteoblast cells’ activity. But truth be told, many teas have these properties. It’s the two extra elements in rooibos that make it unique — orientin and luteolin.
Both flavonoids have the potential to heighten your bones’ mineral content.
#4 Helps Alleviate Pain
The antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties found inside rooibos tea work to reduce inflammation in your body, thereby decreasing pain. If you have arthritis, it may help relieve your joint pain. Additionally, by activating potassium ions in your body, the antispasmodic compounds can relax your abdominal muscles, decreasing stomach aches too.
Rooibos boasts a high content of vitamin C, which repairs joints’ connective tissue and amplifies collagen.
#5 Supports Weight Loss
Similar to black and green tea, rooibos is a wonderful beverage that doesn’t fill you with calories. Every cup contains just two to four calories, so you need not worry about your diet to enjoy it.
However, adding sweetness, sugar, or honey will increase the calories per cup. Just be mindful about this if your primary health and fitness goal is to lose weight.
How to Prepare Rooibos Tea
- Boil water. We recommend using a kettle with temperature settings. If you can, set the kettle to 208 degrees Fahrenheit and use filtered water when possible.
- Pour hot water into a teapot, filling it halfway.
- Swirl the water around.
- Discard. Warming the teapot isn’t something everybody does, but it enhances your drinking experience.
- Put the desired amount of rooibos into the teapot.
- Add hot water.
- Cover the teapot.
- Leave to steep for five minutes.
- Strain the rooibos and pour the tea into a cup.
With the blend variety, you’re bound to find a rooibos tea that suits you and your preferred tastes.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.