Although Rooibos is not a tea, it is brewed like tea and is chock full of antioxidants, like tea.  However, Rooibos contains no caffeine, which makes it a perfect bedtime beverage.  I love Rooibos because it is so incredibly versatile.

Rooibos can be brewed unblended, in its natural, earthy form.  The scent is reminiscent of tobacco to some, and in South Africa – the only place in the world where Rooibos is grown – children grow up drinking it.  I’ve read it’s even put in small bags for babies to teethe on there.

But Rooibos blended with a host of things is my personal favorite.  I love it with blueberries, raspberries,
chocolate, vanilla, orange, even banana.  It combines well with most flavors and the flavors hide much of
that characteristic earthiness some find objectionable.

You really can’t overbrew Rooibos.  Because it lacks tannins, Rooibos just tastes that much richer if forgotten.  However, one thing you’ll need is a very, very fine mesh filter.  Rooibos has “needles” that will slip through almost anything if they get a chance.  And they are notorious drain cloggers if they get through.

We sell as much Rooibos as tea here in our shop in Southern California.  I also use it to make healthy lattes, hot and iced, with Rooibos blends.  With some steamed soy milk and a little sweetener, a nice, strong shot of Rooibos brings about delicious results.

There is even a company called Red Espresso, which is attempting to get coffeehouses to offer shots of their
“Rooibos espresso” in addition to the standard caffeinated coffee espresso shots.  We do Rooibos shots using organic unblended Rooibos with our own brewing process and they are deep, rich, and extremely smooth.  Nearly all espresso lovers take to them.  The option of intense flavor with no caffeine is appealing, especially in the evening.

One of the beautiful things about the specialty tea niche is that it opens its boundaries to non-teas like
Rooibos and yerba mate, as well as a host of other herbals.  There are even good blends that include both
tea and Rooibos.  I do one with Earl Grey, Rooibos, vanilla, chocolate, and mint.  Rooibos is a blender’s dream.

During this sore throat and flu season, we have “dispensed” cup after cup of hot Rooibos with dried raspberries and a little organic clover honey…with great results to those who ask for it.  They say it not only soothes their throat, but seems to shorten their recovery time.  And there are no unwanted side-effects as with some medications.

Just before I started writing this, I finished off a hot cup of Rooibos with organic blueberries.  Now how’s that
for a double shot of antioxidants in delicious liquid form?

If you haven’t tried Rooibos, please do.  If you have, perhaps think of working with it in new and creative
ways.  Or stop by and have a Banana Cream Pie Rooibos latte with whip cream and cinnamon on top.  My apologies to the tea purists in our midst!  But it’s delicious…it really is…and no more “sinful” than a cup of tea consumed with a pastry!

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