Oliver Pluff Rooibos Chai Tin

Rooibos "Tea"

Posted by Oliver pluff on


Dear Oliver,


Rooibos has become my new best friend.


I know, you could argue that I love all your products, Oliver, but right now rooibos has taken the lead.


It started with my search to find a caffeine-free afternoon beverage. And, I didn’t want to rely on decaffeinated versions of other products.


Rooibos fits the bill perfectly and has a mild, somewhat sweet and nutty taste, naturally. The Oliver Pluff Red Chai version adds cinnamon, ginger, green cardamom pods, allspice, cloves, and black pepper to make it especially aromatic.


Upon researching more about rooibos, I found it is not derived from the same plant as its famous cousins, black, green, and white tea. Because of its color, it is often referred to as Red Tea or Red Bush Tea and it comes from the Aspalathus Linearis plant, which is a shrub native to the Western Cape Province in South Africa and is not actually tea.


A Field of Rooibos

According to PlantZAfrica, “Aspalathus linearis is of great economic value. It was first used by the indigenous people of the Cederberg area and is currently a very popular tea. It is considered healthy as it is caffeine-free, low in tannins and rich in antioxidants. It is not only enjoyed as a herbal tea, but is also used as an ingredient in cosmetics, in slimming products, as a flavoring agent in baking, cooking and cocktails.”


As I mentioned, rooibos easily stands alone with its mild flavor, or it often comes in bags already mixed with spices. But, with this versatile herb, you can also mix in your own add-ins if you want to experiment or desire a change in flavor. For a sweeter beverage, Wildfoods suggests honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar. Citrus such as lemon or orange and milk or cream can also vary the traditional mild flavor. The addition of mild chocolate is used to add a dessert-like quality. Plus, stevia can enhance the sweetness as well.


As for spices you can add yourself, here are some that easily complement the delicious rooibos: cinnamon, vanilla, lemongrass, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, allspice, cloves, mint, cocoa, and black pepper, all mix in nicely with rooibos.


Various authorities suggest different steep times for Rooibos, but the range is 5-10 minutes with hot, 195-200 degree water. Tiestatea tea states that “rooibos needs a bit more heat (and time) to unfold its full flavor profile.”


Premiumsteep lists rooibos as a tea that is easy to resteep as well and states, “A great aspect of rooibos tea is that it has no bitter tannins. This means you can steep a cup or pot of rooibos tea for a long time without the flavor becoming overwhelming. You will be able to get at least two to three resteeps of rooibos tea.” This, of course, lowers the cost if consumers resteep and reuse the bags, filled tea infusers, or strainers.



As for the hot versus cold debate, Rooibos is a candidate for both preparations and can be found either way. Because the majority of Americans drink tea cold, rooibos, and its naturally mild and sweet flavor profile translate into a delicious sweet or unsweet cold or iced tea. It can be directly substituted for other teas in iced tea recipes.


Rooibos, hot or cold, is definitely worth a try this summer!