We’re sniffing out (literally and figuratively) great teas and herbals all the time. That’s part of our very fun and rewarding career in specialty tea retailing. One of the best possible experiences is when you find that gem, that jewel, that diamond of a tea or herbal where the blender has hit the bull’s eye. We found one recently and it’s, of all things, a green rooibos.
We buy from what I consider to be the best blenders and tea-selecting importers in the world and some don’t even carry green rooibos because, in their experience, it just doesn’t sell. I understood why when I tasted unblended as well as blended green rooibos in the past. Most people probably just wouldn’t think it was the greatest tasting infusion. Some of our customers might buy it for its health benefits, but most would pass on it.
So, on an ordinary day, during an ordinary tasting, we looked at yet another sample of rooibos that had come in. Somewhat reluctantly, we tasted it, but this time, our reaction was “You’ve GOT to be kidding me!” Lights began flashing, music began playing, and bells began ringing. It was fruity, but warm, with a slight hint of coconut (although there isn’t any in the blend), and great hot or iced. And it was a green rooibos!
Green rooibos is what I would call the green tea of rooibos. Unfermented, it may just be the healthiest herbal infusion ever. It has a lighter taste than fermented rooibos, much as green tea compared with black, but it doesn’t ever get bitter or astringent, as green tea can if brewed improperly. That’s because rooibos is so low in tannins. It also has no caffeine, so it is the perfect evening or bedtime drink.
Livestrong.com cites the following:
“In a review of studies on the bioactivity of South African herbal teas, including both rooibos and honeybush, USDA researchers Diane L. McKay and Jeffrey B. Blumberg found that the fermentation process reduced the bioactive compounds present in rooibos plant materials. Multiple studies show that both red and green rooibos teas contain several phenolic compounds. However, the concentration of these bioactive ingredients is significantly higher in green rooibos than in red rooibos.”
I’ve read that green rooibos has up to 100 times the antioxidants of fermented rooibos. Livestrong.com goes on to say:
“In an article in the 2009 issue of ‘Food and Chemical Toxicology,’ researchers reported that while all teas showed some chemoprotective properties, green rooibos tea seemed to have the most powerful effect.”
Back to the really delicious one we found. In our suburban SoCal shop, we are selling about 5 pounds of this gem a week. Why? Taste and benefits. People who already feel so much better from drinking fermented rooibos are lining up to get a crack at this new, delicious, green rooibos blend. When you work hard to find the best, your customers will reward you! (We’re drinking a lot of it too!)