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ROOIBOS HERBAL TEA  

It is important to store tea leaves away from air, light, moisture and odors from other foods.  It is best in a cool dry place in an opaque and airtight tin.  Refrigeration is not recommended. 

Every herbal tea (actually, herbal infusion ortisane) requires its own unique brewing procedure to draw out its characteristic delicate nuances or strong flavors or even medicinal qualities; and so we’ll now address the best method of preparing your Rooibos Herbal Tea.  You already have your tools at the ready (if not, please click back to our main Tea page).

Rooibos Tea is made from the leaves of the rooibostee, a shrub that is native to the mountains near Capetown, South Africa. This herbal plant is colloquially known as Red Tea or Red Bush Tea and bears bright green, needle-shaped leaves, reaching from about four to eight feet in height.  Traditionally, its stems and leaves are bruised with hammers, then left to ferment in the sun, and the resulting tea has a characteristic sweet flavor.  Interestingly, it should be noted that Rooibos Tea is not a true tea; there are only four true teas (Black, Oolong, Green and White) derived from only one tea plant (Camellia sinensis); and so, Rooibos is classified as an herbal infusion (or a tisane).  South Africans have enjoyed Rooibos Tea for at least two hundred years, as it was first noted by botanist, Carl Humberg, in 1772.  A century later, Benjamin Ginsberg, a Russian immigrant, realized its marketing potential, and in 1904, began offering it as an herbal substitute to tea, but it really gained popularity during World War II, when Black Tea was unavailable.  Rooibos Tea (not to be confused with honey bush tea) is one of South Africa's few indigenous plants that have become an important commercial crop and it is blessed with at least thirty-seven natural antioxidants, vitamin C, minerals and alpha-hydroxy acids - and is naturally decaffeinated - with very low tannin (a bitter astringent) content.  Rooibos Tea is a bedtime favorite among South African herbalists, consumers and even physicians because of the many medicinal qualities associated with it.  If you have trouble falling asleep, Rooibos Tea may help to induce sleep, relieve stress and even restless leg syndrome.  Rooibos is a flavorful, caffeine-free alternative to tea for those seeking to eliminate caffeine intake.

The following steps will guide you through the preparation of  your  Rooibos Herbal Tea:

Assuming that you have already pre-heated your teapot (or cup), by swirling boiling or nearly boiling water around in the empty pot and then pouring it off, we will now put the proper amount of tea leaves into the pot, using one level teaspoon of tea per eight-ounce cup of water as a guide, although some old-timers like to add an extra spoon or "one for the pot."  It is all a question of taste.  It is also considered important to brew tea in a vessel that matches the quantity one is preparing.  Brewing a single cup in a large teapot will never taste quite right because there is too much room for the heat to dissipate if the pot is only partially filled with boiling water; this is the time for a smaller teapot or a covered cup.

Now for the water:  When steeping Rooibos (as with all herbal tisanes and Black Teas), boiling water should be used, and it is important to bring the water to a rolling boil of 212 degrees Fahrenheit and pour the boiling water immediately over the herbs (bringing the pot or cup to the kettle of boiling water), preferably a covered china/ porcelain or glass pot or china or glass cup.  The longer you steep the leaves, the stronger your infusion will be.  Never stir; let the herb steep within the confines of the pot or cup.  Rooibos (like all herbal teas) generally should steep for at least ten minutes, but for medicinal purposes, it should be steeped even longer to draw forth all of its valuable properties.  Ideally, Rooibos should ideally steep for twenty minutes in a covered vessel to keep it hot, although it is drinkable after ten to fifteen.  Some experimentation will be necessary to strike the perfect chord for you.  

Finally, it's time for you to sit down, relax and sip your tea.  DeliciousRelaxing?  Just what you needed:  The Perfect Cup of Tea and You!

These are guidelines for reference only.  Experimentation will yield the perfect cup of tea.



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