Rooibos Leaf Tea
Best enjoyed in the afternoon, this tea is created from the leaves of Rooibos grown in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. It has an intense and sweet aroma, a refreshing taste, almost nutty but full-bodied and very delicious. Rooibos is naturally red in colour and wonderfully smooth in taste, this caffeine-free infusion is a wonderful alternative to regular black or green tea and it is a traditional South African favourite that is just as enjoyable with or without milk.
Preparation: Steep in freshly boiled water for 3 to 5 minutes. Sweeten to bring out all of the natural flavours. Serve hot or iced.
Latin Name: Aspalathus linearis
Country of Origin: South Africa
Other Names: Roy Bos, Red Bush, Rooibosh, Rooibosch, South African Red Tea, Rooibostee & Bossietee.
Description: Rooibos is a broom-like member of the Fabaceae family of plants growing in South Africa’s fynbos. The generic name comes from the plant Calicotome villosa, aspalathos in Greek, which has very similar growth and flowers to the rooibos plant. The specific name linearis comes from the plant’s linear growing structure and needle-like leaves.
The tea’s history is rooted in the Cederberg region of beautiful South Africa. Khoisans, the indigenous Bushmen of the region, harvested the leaves from the Aspalathus Linearis plant for centuries. The leaves were used as herbal remedies for many ailments and loved for their delicious taste.
Rooibos tea history nearly ended with the dwindling of the Khoisan tribes, but thankfully a botanist named Carl Humberg rediscovered the leaves in 1772 and revived a more widespread interest in the tea drink. Then, in 1904 a Russian immigrant with ties to tea manufacturing, Benjamin Ginsberg, began marketing the drink as a “Mountain Tea,” a herbal alternative to tea. During World War II, when importing tea from Asian countries was nearly impossible, rooibos tea became an excellent alternative and was shipped around the world. The rest as they say is history.