Rooibos (pronounced in USA as ROY-boss) is used in herbal teas as a stand-alone ingredient, or blended with dried herbs, fruits or spices. (See featured tea Cherry Amaretto.) When steeped, rooibos makes a flavorful, naturally CAFFEINE FREE hot or iced beverage.
Horticulturally, rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is part of the legume family, and grows in a tiny area known as the fynbos in the Western Cape of South Africa. With a broom like growth pattern, the literal translation from Afrikaans is “red bush.” Needle-like leaves are arranged sporadically in small bunches, around the branches.
Red and Green Rooibos? YES! Red rooibos, is made by spreading out raw green rooibos in the open air. It is then piled into a long narrow row (known as a sweat heap) and left in the sun to oxidize. To produce green rooibos, the “sweat heap” step is omitted.
Attempts to cultivate Aspalathus linearis outside the fynbos have been made. However, those attempts have failed largely due to the area being a unique micro-climate that cannot be reproduced elsewhere.
Whether you like red or green, rooibos offers a wide range of health benefits.