TeaFrog explores Rooibos Teas and their growing popularity in North America

Rooibos (Afrikaans for “Red Bush”), pronounced “roy-boss”, has been steadily growing in consumption world wide.  Generations of people in Africa have been enjoying this sweet nutty drink for hundreds of years, and only now is it starting to gain mainstream acceptance in North America.

A large contributing factor to the Rooibos boom currently growing on our fine continent, is the society-wide turn towards healthy alternatives.  TeaFrog is currently seeing a noticeable switch from heavily caffeinated beverages like coffee and carbonated drinks, to healthier choices such as tea and tea alternatives.  Rooibos fits the bill perfectly, as it is caffeine free, and still retains the health benefits of a traditional tea.

“True” tea is derived from steeping the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.  Purists decry any other claim to the word tea, for beverages that are not made up only of this plant.  While technically this may be true, in the real world, all sorts of infusions have been known as tea for hundreds and hundreds of years.  For example, Chamomile Tea,  Earl Grey Tea (not technically a tea due to the addition of Bergamot), Herbal Teas, Fruit Teas, etc.  Going by a strict tea connoisseurs’ definition, these are all referred to as Tisanes, as would any Rooibos blend or infusion, but for the general public, this gets confusing.  TeaFrog always refers to Rooibos as a “tea”.

This tea has many health benefits other than being naturally decaffeinated.  There are many claims as to what the health benefits of Rooibos actually are.  We know from scientific studies completed and ongoing, that it has high levels of antioxidants, as does tea, which promotes the reduction of free radical levels in our bodies, assisting to actually delay the aging process.  It has also been claimed to be effective in relieving stomach ulcers, nausea, heartburn, sunburns (topically applied), increases iron absorption, increases metabolic functions and much much more.  All these claims should be taken with a grain of salt, as studies have still to definitively prove these, but keep in mind that for thousands of years the health benefits of tea were renowned, and just now study after study is proving these claims on tea to be true.

Putting aside all the health benefits of Rooibos, let’s hit the flavor.  Slightly sweet, slightly nutty, the “legume” classification of this leaf shows through.  Traditionally consumed with sugar and milk, North Americans will generally find that even by itself it needs no additives at all, creating a very satisfying cup of tea.  One of the benefits of Rooibos for tea blending however, is how it takes flavoring – that being, very well.  There are literally hundreds of blends and flavors of Rooibos, such as TeaFrog’s most popular “Love” flavored, or Gingerbread Orange, or our brand new Kalahari flavored Rooibos.  The bottom line on flavor is, for as many tastes as there are out there, there is a blend or flavor for you.

Did I mention that you will not get a “bitter” cup of Rooibos tea?  As if it was perfectly designed for busy people, if you infuse it for too long, you will just get a stronger cup of tea, not a bitter cup of tea as you do with black or green tea.  This is because of the very low level of tannins in the leaves.  A major plus for those busy people that forget about their tea as it’s steeping!

As the market matures for Rooibos, TeaFrog will be carrying more variety, including the upcoming Green Rooibos leaves, with more antioxidant content due to the fact that they are not fully oxidized and processed.  We are very proud to be on the forefront of this North American Rooibos revolution, and I hope that you have found this informative, and that you will try one or more of the TeaFrog Rooibos blends!

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