Saturday, October 15, 2005

Tea Review 29 - Rooibos

Organic Rooibos
Rooibos Orange
Rooibos Provence

Rooibos, for those of you who may not be familiar with it, is an herbal beverage made from a plant - Aspalathus linearis - grown only in South Africa. It is brewed like tea, contains no caffeine and is commonly known as red bush, a reference to its color.

Most of the Rooibos I've tasted thus far has been in tea bag form. I recently had the good fortune to sample three loose varieties from tea merchant, who sell about a dozen types of loose Rooibos in "plain" and flavored varieties.

Organic Rooibos brews up to a very appealing dark reddish brown color and has a great flavor. While it doesn't really taste like black tea, I'd say it's about as close as you can get if you're looking for a caffeine free substitute.

Rooibos Orange is flavored with citrus peel and orange blossoms. It has a whopping strong aroma dry, but a rather delicate and pleasing taste.

There's no kitchen sink in Rooibos Provence, but that's about the only thing not present. The flavorings in this one are lavender, rose petals, dried black currants, dried blueberries, rosehip shells and the rather mysterious "natural flavors."

All three of these teas are quite good, but the last was probably my least favorite. One of the flavors didn't quite click with me, though I couldn't place what it was - perhaps the currants.

Anyway, for a nice iced tea you might try one part Organic Rooibos, one part Rooibos Orange and one part mint. I used Celestial Seasonings Organic Peppermint, which packs quite a kick, as the latter ingredient.


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