What is green rooibos and what does it taste like?
WHAT DOES GREEN ROOIBOS TASTE LIKE?
We think green rooibos (roy-boss) is a very special tea. It is not like normal green tea, as it is naturally caffeine free and has absolutely no bitterness, ever. It is also much lighter than normal rooibos, being a pale green colour, and more delicate and fragrant.
Green rooibos has a lovely mellow taste, and a natural sweetness. The tea has very low tannins which is why it does not go bitter or astringent, no matter how long you leave the leaves to brew. Because this is such a distinctive and light tea, we recommend drinking it without milk, just as you would a normal cup of green tea. It is also delicious as an ice tea.
SO WHAT IS GREEN ROOIBOS?
Green rooibos is made from the rooibos plant that grows only in the Cedarberg mountains of South Africa. The plant is called aspalathus linearis and is actually part of the pea and bean family and therefore, it is naturally caffeine free. There are lots of studies happening all over the world researching the various health benefits of the rooibos plant, including its role in helping heart health, weight loss, the immune system, diabetes management as well as with anxiety and sleep disorders.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT TO 'RED' ROOIBOS?
The secret lies in what happens to the leaves after harvesting as both green and red rooibos are made from the same plant with its wondrous properties. To make green rooibos, the leaves are quickly heated and dried to make sure they keep their fresh green colour and light taste. As a comparison, to make red rooibos the leaves are allowed to oxidise (the same process as when you bite into an apple and it starts to brown). They are then left in the sun to dry and to develop their distinctive deep red colour and rich, malty taste.
AND HOW IS GREEN ROOIBOS DIFFERENT TO 'NORMAL' GREEN TEA?
'Normal' green tea is actually made from an entirely different plant, camelia sinensis, which naturally contains caffeine and tannins in its make-up. Related to the common garden Camelia, 'normal' black tea is also made from this plant, but the difference lies in how the leaves are treated after picking. Sound familiar? You'd be right! The method used to make both green and red rooibos was inspired by traditional Chinese technique for making normal green and black tea.
To make normal green tea, the leaves are quickly dried after picking to preserve their green colour (although, sometimes a a small amount of managed oxidation is allowed), whereas for black tea, the leaves are fully oxidised until they turn dark brown. The resulting brew is much stronger and darker (like red rooibos) meaning that it can take milk, and in fact will often need milk because of the high levels of bitter tannins.
WHAT IS A DECAF GREEN TEA?
Normal green tea, contrary to popular belief, can contain varying amounts of caffeine because the tea plant contains caffeine in its leaves. Green tea drinkers who want to cut down on their caffeine intake might at first turn to decaffeinated green teas (before trying naturally caffeine free green rooibos). However, these 'decaf' teas will often have undergone various chemical processes to strip the caffeine from the leaves. Some of these processes are worse than others but so often the taste is also stripped out too. The chemicals themselves can also be quite difficult to remove, leaving trace residues, which, as well as concerns around food safety, can also make the tea bitter.
NATURALLY CAFFEINE FREE ROOIBOS GOODNESS
Green (and red) rooibos on the other hand are never put through any unnatural processing which is why we think rooibos is such a brilliant and entirely natural caffeine free choice for any time of day, especially before bed. The taste remains intact, and there are no nasty chemicals, just a gently relaxing cup of tea, full of rooibos goodness - all day and everyday.