Rooibos Tea: What It Is, Benefits and How to Make It

Jill Caren

Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free beverage that can be consumed at any time of day. Here is a guide to the main benefits of rooibos …

Categories Herbal Tea

Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free beverage that can be consumed at any time of day. Here is a guide to the main benefits of rooibos tea, as well as how to properly brew it!

Before we get into the finer details of rooibos tea and its benefits, here are some fun facts about this herbal tea:

  • Rooibos only grows in South Africa
  • It can reach a height of 1.5 m and has thin branches with bright green, needle-like leaves. Rooibos is a tough shrub that can withstand harsh conditions.
  • During the fermentation process, Rooibos develops its distinctive aroma and red color.
  • The trademarked name “Rooibos” may only be used on products sourced from the mountainous Cederberg region of the Western Cape.
  • Rooibos is a natural and pure product. It does not contain any colorants, additives, or preservatives.

What is Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea, often known as red bush tea, is a South African herbal tea created by infusing rooibos in water.

It’s a caffeine-free beverage.

In Afrikaans, a southern African language, Rooibos means “red bush.” South Africa is the only place where the red bush shrub Aspalathus linearis is grown. It is indigenous to South Africa’s Cederberg Mountains, some 200 miles north of Cape Town.

Rooibos leaves are harvested once a year in Africa during the summer. The plants are cut with big sickles and bundled into bundles known as “gerwe” in Afrikaans.

The plants are transferred to a processing facility, where the stalks are chopped into even lengths and withered. Depending on the variety of rooibos being produced, the leaves are then fermented or dried.

Not a true “tea”

Technically, something is only considered a tea if it is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. While rooibos does not, it is prepared similarly to tea and is frequently referred to as such.


This herbal tea comes in two varieties: red rooibos and green rooibos. They differ in the manner in which they are processed.

The typical variation of this tea is red rooibos. This kind has been completely oxidized (exposed to air before drying). When brewed, red rooibos tea has a rich red hue, is sweet, and tastes similar to hibiscus tea.

Green rooibos tea is not oxidized. This type of rooibos tea is less popular and more expensive than red rooibos tea. It has an earthy flavor, akin to yerba mate. The oxidation process is responsible for the distinctive flavors of red and green rooibos tea.

Loose leaf rooibos tea
Red Rooibos Tea

What does Rooibos Tea taste like?

The flavor of Rooibos tea is sweet and nutty, with earthy undertones. Rooibos is also said to have hints of caramel, vanilla, and a smoky essence associated with tobacco.

Several Rooibos tasters identified bitter, grassy, woody, caramel, floral, and honey flavors. If you take your time while drinking a cup of Rooibos tea, you will be able to peel back one flavor after another. 

Is there caffeine in Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea is naturally caffeine-free. Since it doesn’t contain any caffeine, it is frequently used as a substitute for black and green tea as the base tea in flavored teas.

Because rooibos has a full and rich flavor, it can take milk and thus makes a delicious alternative to black tea for those trying to cut back on caffeine.

Rooibos Tea benefits

Low in tannins and oxalic acid

Tannin levels in Rooibos tea are lower than in black or green tea.

Tannins are a type of plant compound that occurs naturally in foods and beverages such as tea, coffee, chocolate, and wine. They’re well-known for their astringent, bitter flavors as well as their ability to easily bind with proteins and minerals.

One of the most serious concerns about tannins is their ability to interfere with iron absorption.

Because of the high levels of tannins in black teas, it is necessary to add milk and sugar to reduce the natural bitterness and astringency. In comparison, rooibos tea is wonderfully smooth and naturally sweet, and can thus be consumed both black and white.

Red rooibos contains no oxalic acid. Consuming a lot of oxalic acid can increase your chances of getting kidney stones, so rooibos is a good option for anyone who has kidney problems.

Packed with antioxidants

Rooibos is also known for being high in antioxidants, particularly aspalathin, a flavonoid antioxidant unique to rooibos.

Antioxidants may help protect cells from free radical damage. Their effects may reduce your risk of illness in the long run.

Improves the appearance of skin

Rooibos tea contains alpha hydroxy acid, which is a key component in cosmetic treatments like chemical peels. The alpha hydroxy acid in rooibos tea can help you with your skincare routine and decrease wrinkles.

While additional research is needed, drinking a cup or two of rooibos tea every day can help maintain skin appearing even and youthful.

May be good for your heart health

Because rooibos tea is abundant in antioxidants and caffeine-free, it can actively aid to enhance your heart health and reduce high blood pressure.

A research was conducted in 2011 in which patients at risk of cardiovascular disease drank 6 cups of rooibos tea every day for 6 weeks. The results of this study revealed that individuals who participated had lower LDL levels (“bad cholesterol”) and higher HDL levels (“good cholesterol”).

Healthy cholesterol levels provide further protection against a variety of cardiac diseases. More research is needed, however, to completely grasp the benefits of rooibos tea.

Are there any side effects?

Rooibos tea is generally safe for consumption and has shown little to no side effects. Existing side effects are limited to specific populations and typically occur only at high doses.

So, who should not drink rooibos tea? – Rooibos has been linked to estrogen activity, so if this is something that concerns you, it may be worth consulting with your doctor first.

Also, the high antioxidant activity of rooibos tea may interfere with certain medications, so consult your doctor to ensure you can drink rooibos tea without concern.

How to brew Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea can be consumed cold for a refreshing break from the summer heat, or hot for a warming drink when you’re feeling under the weather.

Rooibos tea in a glass cup
Red Rooibos Tea

Steps to make hot Rooibos Tea

You will need:

  • 1 cup of water plus a little more to warm up the teapot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rooibos tea or 1 tea sachet

*Note: The more leaves in rooibos, the higher the quality. The greater the number of stems, the lower the quality. Tea bags contain more stems than loose tea, so they are less expensive and of lower quality. The quality of Rooibos will be higher if it is loose or in tea sachets.

  • 1. Boil water

Rooibos tea tastes best when made with pure or filtered water. When brewing tea, avoid using distilled water since it prevents the flavors from developing properly.

Using an electric kettle with temperature settings is the best way to boil water for tea. Set the temperature to 208°F (98°C). Bring a little more than 1 cup of water to a boil so that it can be used to warm up the teapot.

  • 2. Warm-up teapot

Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around. Remove the water and set it aside.

Warming up the teapot is an extra step to ensure that the water temperature does not drop dramatically while the tea steeps.

  • 3. Steep the Rooibos Tea

Put rooibos tea into the teapot and add hot water. Rooibos tea should be steeped for at least 4 to 5 minutes, but some brands recommend steeping for up to 10 minutes for maximum antioxidant development.

If you want a stronger cup of rooibos tea, increase the steep time by a few minutes or add another 1/2 teaspoon of rooibos loose tea.

Always read the label to determine the proper steep time!

  • 4. Pour hot tea into a teacup after straining rooibos solids

To avoid rooibos solids in your cup of tea, strain it twice with a fine mesh strainer.

Hot rooibos tea can be consumed as is or with a sweetener or a splash of milk. Use sugar, honey, or date syrup to sweeten your rooibos tea.

Rooibos tea can be brewed and refrigerated for up to 4 days. Cover it or store it in an airtight glass container or pitcher. Tea sachets and loose rooibos tea should be stored in an airtight container away from light, humidity, smells, and heat.

Commonly asked questions

How much Rooibos Tea should I drink a day?

Even one cup of rooibos tea has numerous health benefits; however, experts recommend six cups of rooibos tea per day to provide your body with the full rooibos extract staggered throughout the day.

We believe that even one cup will serve, and the best part is that it is caffeine-free, and you can drink it in the morning, noon, or night. It is entirely up to you!

Do you drink Rooibos Tea with milk?

The beauty of rooibos tea is that it can be consumed with or without milk. Rooibos is both gentle and rich, with a slight natural sweetness that makes it delicious on its own.

So, you can drink rooibos tea as is or with milk or sweetener. It all comes down to personal preference.

Does Rooibos Tea stain teeth?

Rooibos lacks many of the teeth-staining components found in traditional tea. As a result, rooibos tea has a low staining potential while remaining a soothing beverage to drink in the morning.

Final thoughts on the benefits of rooibos tea and how to make it

This is a delicious caffeine-free herbal tea that can be consumed at any time of day.

According to current research, it is low in tannins, which means you can steep it for a longer period of time without it becoming bitter, and it is also high in antioxidants. Furthermore, rooibos tea may be beneficial to your heart health and the appearance of your skin.

Use high-quality rooibos to make this red South African tea. Loose Rooibos or tea sachets will be of higher quality than tea bags.

If you’ve never tasted red rooibos tea before, brew it according to the directions above. You can drink it pure or with milk and sugar added. Try both methods and see which works best for you.

Finally, pour yourself a cup of rooibos tea and enjoy the moment!

Disclaimer: This article is only intended to be educational. It is not intended to be used in place of professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Different herbs and teas may have different effects on different people due to their individual differences. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own.