We are often asked about the health benefits of redbush tea and if there's a difference between 'rooibos tea' and 'redbush tea'. To answer your questions, we've put together a little guide ...
Is redbush tea the same as rooibos tea?
Yes! Redbush tea is the same as rooibos tea.
Rooibos (pronounced roy-bosh) is its South African name, and actually translates as 'redbush' ('rooi' meaning red, and 'bos' or 'bosch' meaning bush in Afrikaans). The plant was so-called after its dark red stalks, and even the leaves, which are green when picked, turn red during the tea-making process thanks to skilfully managed oxidation. This results in the beautiful deep red coloured tea that we know and love.
What are the benefits of redbush tea?
Redbush tea is naturally caffeine free. Unlike traditional green and black teas which come from the camelia sinensis plant, redbush tea comes from the aspalathus linearis shrub, which is part of the pea and bean family. This means the tea has absolutely no caffeine in its genetic make up and therefore does not undergo any chemical processing to have any caffeine removed, unlike decaffeinated black teas.
As well as being naturally caffeine free, redbush tea has very low levels of tannins. Tannins are present in other teas, especially in black tea, and can interfere with iron absorption. Tannins can also result in quite a bitter taste, whereas redbush tea is wonderfully smooth and slightly sweet.
Whilst research looking into the benefits of redbush tea is ongoing, it is known to have high levels of flavonoid antioxidants which can help to protect against the effects of certain diseases. Redbush tea has also been linked to weight loss, as featured recently in Channel 4's Food Unwrapped series.
How do you drink redbush tea?
Redbush tea is gentle and naturally sweet, with a slight nutty taste and honeyed notes. To make a delicious cup, infuse the redbush tea in boiling water for 2-4 minutes, or according to taste. Because the tea is low in tannins, you can leave the teabag in for as long as you wish and it won't go bitter, instead, as the colour darkens, the flavours strengthen and deepen.
Redbush can be enjoyed with or without milk, just like ordinary tea. It also goes well with a drop of honey, or a slice of lemon, and makes a truly fabulous iced tea with some fresh mint and lemon.