Honeybush tea is caffeine free, high in antioxidants, and has a wonderfully sweet, very slightly astringent flavor with overtones of honey - the overall flavor is unique and has been compared to hot apricot jam or a dried fruit mix.
Rooibos is a caffeine free herbal brew that has a smooth taste because it does not have tannin like tea made with the Camellia sinensis plant. Its great iced or hot and with or without milk.
Green rooibos is to rooibos what green tea is to black tea.
Unlike standard Rooibos, the green variety is made by stopping the natural oxidization process of the plant just after it's cut. The oxidation is stopped by steaming the leaves and then rolling and drying them.
The resulting tea is more delicate, aromatic, and with a heartier herbal taste and lighter color.
Scientific and institutional findings suggest that green rooibos has a higher concentration of many of the nutrients found in regular rooibos, including flavonoids, anti-oxidants, and minerals.
Brewing Instructions: Generally about 1 teaspoon of Rooibos per cup should be used. Rooibos should be prepared with 212°F (100°C) water and steeped 5 minutes.
History: Although rooibos was first reported in 1772 by botanist Carl Thunberg, the Khoisan people of the area had been using it for ages and were aware of its medicinal value. The Dutch settlers to the Cape adopted rooibos as an alternative to black tea, an expensive commodity for the settlers who relied on supply ships from Europe. Until the 19th century, however, Dutch usage of the tea was minimal.
In 1903, Benjamin Ginsberg (a Russian settler to the Cape and descendant of a famous tea family) realised the potential of rooibos and began trading with the local Khoisan people who were harvesting it. He sold his "Mountain Tea" to settlers in the Cape and shortly became the first exporter of rooibos using contacts from the family tea business.
In the 1930s, Ginsberg convinced a local doctor to experiment with cultivation of the plant. The attempts were successful, which led Ginsberg to encourage local farmers to cultivate the plant in the hope that it would become a profitable venture. The first attempts at large volume cultivation were a disaster due to the small size of the seeds. They are no larger than a grain of sand and so were difficult to find and gather. This resulted in the seeds soaring to an astounding $156 a pound, which was far too expensive for local farmers.
Fortunately for Ginsberg, who employed collectors of the seeds, one woman had found a rather unusual source of supply. While other collectors only brought in matchbox-sized quantities of the seed, she continually delivered large bags and was eventually persuaded to share her secret. She chanced upon ants dragging seed one day, while she was searching for the minute seeds. She followed their trail back to their nest and, on breaking it open, found a granary. Since then, rooibos has grown in popularity in South Africa and since about 2002 or so, has gained considerable momentum in the worldwide market.
Health Benefits: Rooibos is becoming more popular in Western countries particularly amongst health-conscious consumers, who appreciate it for its high level of antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), its lack of caffeine and its very low tannin levels (since tannins can affect the metabolism by decreasing absorption of certain nutrients like iron and protein) as opposed to black tea or green tea leaves. Like Tea leaves, Rooibos can be served oxidized (red) or unoxidized (green), with the unoxidized version theoretically having more antioxidants intact.
200 ml (about 7 ounces) of brewed Rooibos contains the following nutrients:
| Nutrient || Function in the Body || per 200 ml |
| Iron (Fe) || Essential for transport of oxygen in the blood || 0.07 mg |
| Potassium (K) || Assists certain metabolic functions || 7.12 mg |
| Calcium (Ca) || Necessary for strong teeth and bones || 1.09 mg |
| Copper (Cu) || Assists certain metabolic processes || 0.07 mg |
| Zinc (Zn) || Necessary for normal growth and development of healthy skin || 0.04 mg |
| Magnesium (Mg) || Assists a healthy nervous system and other metabolic processes || 1.57 mg |
| Fluoride (F) || Necessary for strong teeth and bones || 0.22 mg |
| Manganese (Mn) || Assists metabolic processes and bone growth and development || 0.04 mg |
| Sodium (Na) || Necessary for fluid and acid-base balance || 6.16 mg |