I cannot believe it has taken me so long to write about Rooibos tea. Maybe that is a good thing, though, as I have now reached a stage where my love of this tea is such that I cannot imagine life without it!
As an orthodox tea drinker, black teas, and mostly unflavored green teas, you will have heard me say many times that I love the taste of tea. However, like many women before me, I seem to have reached an age where too much caffeine (even in my beloved tea!!) seems to be disruptive for my body.
Enter ROOIBOS (Aspalathus linearis), a broom-like shrub and member of the legume family found in a small area of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The word rooibos (pronounced Roy-boss) is Afrikaans for red bush and has been popular in South Africa for generations.
Rooibos has a huge following all over the world due to the many health benefits and Mama Ramotswe, a certain lady detective. Suppose you are one of the few people not to have seen or read the No 1 Ladies Detective series by Alexander McCall Smith then do so soon. Like the tea, these books are compelling, very relaxing, and worthy of your time.
So, what does Rooibos have to offer? Rooibos has very high antioxidant levels (aspalathin). In fact, some claim that Rooibos has more antioxidants than green tea. And I advise anyone not caring for green tea to drink Rooibos. The tannin levels are low (responsible for causing astringency in true tea), and there is NO oxalic acid, which makes this tea good for anyone suffering from kidney stones. Relaxing and restful, rooibos can assist with nervous tension, allergies, dermatological issues, and anti-spasmodic properties, making rooibos helpful for digestive problems.
In South Africa, rooibos is used to aid infants suffering from colic and is added to the baby’s bathwater (and yours) to soften the skin. Research continues on possible anti-cancer properties, and I think we will hear more about the benefits of drinking Rooibos for some time to come. Perhaps most important, you will find NOTHING about rooibos’ adverse effects, which is quite amazing!
Rooibos is an herb and is NATURALLY caffeine-free, making it the perfect tea for my sleeping predicament. This tea quite simply tastes and feels so good, and I have become a huge fan. I have found many tea lovers dislike pure rooibos, though it blends so well with fruits and flowers.
At Local Tea Company, we have a wonderful collection of Rooibos teas. Our best selling (of all our teas) is Selby Select, an orange peel and yogurt blend we created for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. The list continues with Van Wezel with black and red currants (see post), Lemon Sunset with lemongrass and lemon peel, Bertha Palmer with licorice, peppermint, verbena, and fennel, and finally Mable’s Rose with cherry and rose. I hope you agree that it is quite a line-up, and if you are an iced tea drinker, do not despair. All are beautiful iced!
One of our rooibos teas is especially nice to share with a loved one. Sweet Sin combines raspberry with vanilla and is always popular around Valentine’s Day.
What a versatile and special tea this is, and if you haven’t discovered Rooibos already then, I hope you do so soon.
Caffeine in Tea
The debate about the amount of caffeine in tea compared to coffee has been ongoing and does not seem likely to stop any time soon. There are many conflicting reports about dry weight versus brewed, water temp, steeping time, etc. We know for certain that there is caffeine in tea, and reports all agree that most caffeine is found in black tea.
Should you be drinking tea with caffeine? Scientific studies to date have also been contradictory. There is no conclusive evidence that caffeine causes or exacerbates illness or medical conditions.
I am going to share my theory on the subject. This is my personal view and what we share with our visitors at Local Tea Company, where we showcase teas WITH caffeine.
Caffeine is naturally found in the leaves of camellia sinensis, giving the plant a built in defense system deterring insects from eating the leaves due to the bitter taste of caffeine.
Caffeine in Tea
However, not all caffeine is equal! I am a great advocate of caffeine in tea because the leaf also contains another extraordinary component. L- Theanine is an amino acid that works in conjunction with caffeine to provide your body with a powerhouse of benefits.
Caffeine alone will enter your bloodstream very quickly and stimulate the beta brain waves (fight or flight!). In tea, the L-Theanine follows right behind to stimulate the alpha brain waves (relaxation!), effectively canceling out any negative behavior of caffeine alone. In conjunction, the process unfolds slowly, giving you relaxed alertness that will last for several hours. Think of the monks alert but calm and imagine what might happen if they drank coffee all day.
L-Theanine also creates lots of energy (which in turn helps burn calories!). Tea should be used as part of a healthy lifestyle. To achieve the best results, but I can certainly say it has worked for me. Drink a cuppa for some energy.
Here is how my tea day unfolds…..
I like to drink tea with caffeine throughout the day, usually starting with black during the early morning—something bold like Yorkshire Harrogate. Later the I switch to a more gentle green tea like Goji Green. I have found that black tea is not good for me late in the day unless I want to stay awake all night! Of course, we have some amazing caffeine free teas. Yes, caffeine-free is not de-caffeinated. This is a good topic for my next post.
We are all different and metabolize caffeine at different rates. So work on what is right for your body and lifestyle—no need to despair when an alternative is required. So let’s drink ‘true tea’ as often as our bodies will allow and enjoy the benefits of this amazing beverage.