Rooibos, which means ‘red bush’ in Afrikaans, grows only in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. The bushes are actually green but once fermented the rooibos leaves turn a deep red colour that we associate with rooibos tea.
Rooibos has no calories, is naturally caffeine free and has half the tannin of black tea (tannin is responsible for making black tea taste bitter, and is also thought to prevent the absorption of iron and protein in our diet). As a result, rooibos has none of the bitterness of black tea, tastes refreshing and mildly sweet and is a great alternative to black tea. Rooibos is also completely natural and does not contain any colouring or preservatives.
The presence of nine trace minerals including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc, makes rooibos tea an ideal thirst quencher. In addition, rooibos is also rich in beneficial antioxidants and flavonoids.
Rooibos has gained popularity in North America and Europe in recent years, no doubt due to its many benefits. It is widely available in the UK, both in health food shops and supermarkets.