Looking for a caffeine-free beverage? Try rooibos tea, a drink high in antioxidants (recipes included)
01/07/2022 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Looking for a caffeine-free beverage? Try rooibos tea, a drink high in antioxidants (recipes included)

Rooibos tea is a delicious, caffeine-free red tea that offers many health benefits. Give this drink a try if you’re looking for a beverage that contains nutrients like vitamin C and beneficial antioxidants.

What is rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea is native to the mountainsides of the Cederberg region in South Africa. Locals call it red bush or African red tea. Rooibos tea is made with leaves from a shrub called Aspalathus linearis. It is an herbal tea and isn’t related to green or black tea.

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Raw rooibos leaves are initially green and turn a vibrant red after post-harvest fermentation. This is due to the oxidation of said leaves by naturally occurring enzymes. If you see green rooibos tea at the store, that’s the unprocessed version of the herbal tea.

Rooibos tea tastes slightly fruity, with earthy, floral notes. You can buy the tea in loose-leaf form or in tea bags.

Health benefits of rooibos tea

Both green and red rooibos are full of antioxidants, with the green version having a higher concentration. Antioxidants can help prevent cell damage from free radicals.

Over the long term, antioxidants can help lower your risk of certain illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

You can also boost your heart health by drinking antioxidant-rich rooibos tea. Drinking rooibos tea is said to have beneficial effects on blood pressure as it inhibits the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE).

ACE indirectly increases blood pressure by making your blood vessels contract. In a small study involving 17 people, researchers found that consuming rooibos tea inhibited ACE activity for 30 to 60 minutes after ingestion.

Research also suggests that rooibos tea can help improve cholesterol levels. In another study involving 40 overweight adults at high risk of heart disease, researchers found that consuming six cups of rooibos tea daily for six weeks decreased their “bad” LDL cholesterol while boosting their “good” HDL cholesterol.

The effect was not observed in healthy people, but this benefit is important because maintaining healthy cholesterol levels can help prevent different heart conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes.

Since the tea is caffeine-free, you can enjoy several cups daily without getting jittery or crashing. Even children or breastfeeding mothers can drink rooibos tea.

Rooibos is also full of vitamin C and low in tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in plants, as well as in black tea, coffee and wine. They give certain beverages a tell-tale astringency, color and, sometimes, flavor.

The tannin levels in wine usually determine its dryness. Tannin also inhibits your body’s absorption of iron. If you don’t like bitter tea, switch to rooibos tea.

Rooibos tea is popular in America, Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands and Japan. In fact, women in Japan drink the tea because it has anti-aging and beauty benefits.

You can even use lukewarm rooibos tea as a mist or rinse to refresh your face and brighten tired eyes. Apply the tea topically to help treat acne or to make your hair healthy and shinier.

Red rooibos tea recipes to try

The tea is served hot or cold with milk and sugar or honey, like black tea. It also goes well with a bit of fresh lemon juice or some grated fresh ginger.

Rooibos tea is mild and can also be blended with other teas, spices or fruit flavors.

Rooibos tea

If you haven’t tried rooibos beverages yet, start with classic rooibos tea.

Ingredients for one serving:

  • Loose-leaf rooibos tea and a fine mesh infuser or teabags
  • Water
  • Honey or lemon juice (Optional)

Preparation:

  1. Boil the water in a teapot with a fine-mesh strainer if using loose-leaf tea. Otherwise, you will need a fine mesh infuser or teabags.
  2. Once the water has boiled, let it cool for several seconds.
  3. Use one teaspoon of rooibos tea per cup of water and steep for about five minutes. The longer you steep, the better flavor you will get. Rooibos doesn’t become bitter, so longer steeping is a good idea with this tea.
  4. Add honey or lemon juice and drink immediately or let the tea cool down.

Pure rooibos latte

Use pure rooibos tea to make a delicious rooibos latte.

Ingredients for one serving:

  • 2 Teaspoons of pure rooibos tea
  • 200 ml of milk
  • 50 ml of water
  • Honey or maple syrup

Preparation:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and steep two teaspoons of pure rooibos tea in the boiling water for 10 minutes.
  2. Strain the mixture and pour it into a mug.
  3. In a saucepan, heat the milk over a medium fire and whisk it to make a froth.
  4. Pour the frothy milk into the mug with steeped rooibos tea.
  5. Add sweetener and stir before drinking.

Rooibos iced tea

Try making rooibos iced tea if you want another cold and refreshing beverage.

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • Loose-leaf rooibos tea and a fine mesh infuser or teabags
  • Water
  • Maple syrup

Preparation:

  1. Follow the steps to brew a cup of hot rooibos tea for the latte, but increase the steeping time and add more leaves.
  2. Strain the mixture and pour into a shaker filled with iced. Add maple syrup if you wish.
  3. Shake for at least one minute before serving.

Rooibos banana smoothie

Since rooibos is caffeine-free, it’s the perfect ingredient for an energy-boosting breakfast smoothie.

Ingredients for 1 serving:

  • 2 Teaspoons of pure rooibos tea
  • 50ml of water
  • 1/2 Cup of milk (or plain drinking yogurt)
  • 1 Banana, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 Mango, peeled and chopped
  • Honey (Optional)

Preparation:

  1. Steep the rooibos tea in freshly boiled water for 10 minutes and strain. To cut your prep time, make the tea the night before and refrigerate it.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: Rooibos tea, mango, banana, honey and yogurt.
  3. Process for 10 to 20 seconds and serve.

Drink antioxidant-rich rooibos tea plain or make delicious beverages like rooibos iced tea or latte to support your overall health.

Sources:

Health.com

Healthline.com

SimpleLooseLeaf.com

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