5 Easy Steps to Make Rooibos Tea Properly

Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free herbal drink made from leaves of a shrub native to South Africa. See how easy it is to brew this red colored beverage properly, both hot and cold.

Rooibos tea steeping in water

Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea is a tisane (herbal tea) made by infusing rooibos in water.

Rooibos tea is also known as red tea or red bush tea and has been around for centuries in South Africa.

What is Rooibos?

Rooibos is a bush that is grown in South Africa and the leaves from the bush are processed to make rooibos tea. The processing produces the signature reddish-brown color.

Rooibos means “red bush” in Afrikaans, a language of southern Africa. 

RELATED: How to Make Herbal Tea Properly

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Rooibos Tea Formula

Made hot or cold, the rooibos tea formula is the same.

1 1/2 teaspoons of rooibos loose tea for every cup of water (8 fl. oz.).

My Rooibos Tea Pick:

How Do You Pronounce Rooibos?

I see online that the common pronunciation of rooibos is ROY-BOSS, but when said quickly, it sounds more like ROY-BUS.

What Does Rooibos Tea Taste Like?

To me, rooibos tastes like weak tea with woody and earthy notes. 

Just like black tea, you can have rooibos tea with or without milk and sugar. 

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Is There Caffeine in Rooibos Tea?

Nope, there’s no caffeine in rooibos tea. It’s great as a nighttime drink.

How Many Calories are There in Rooibos Tea?

Rooibos tea steeped in water has absolutely no calories.

It’s only when you start adding sugar and milk that the calories start adding up.

Is Rooibos Tea a Real Tea?

First, real tea is tea that comes from the camellia sinensis plant. Tea that comes from the camellia sinensis plant are black, oolong, green, yellow, white, and puerh teas. All these teas contain caffeine.

Rooibos tea comes from the rooibos plant, not the camellia sinensis plant so it’s not a real or true tea.

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What are the Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea?

  • High in antioxidants
    Antioxidants help protect your cells from damage.
  • Hydrates
    Caffeine is a diuretic which removes water from the body. Since rooibos tea doesn’t contain any caffeine, it hydrates the body unlike tea or coffee.
  • Doesn’t contain oxalic acid 
    Oxalic acid can increase the risk of kidney stones and since there’s no oxalic acid in rooibos tea, it makes for a good tea substitute.

Just a note that there hasn’t been extensive testing done on rooibos tea so all health claims made aren’t based on strong evidence.


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Rooibos Tea Ingredients

What I Use to Make Rooibos Tea

Hot rooibos tea

How to Make Rooibos Tea Properly

STEP 1: Boil water.

An important part of making a good cup of tea is to use good water. The better the water, the better the tea will taste so use filtered water if possible.

I always use my electric kettle with temperature setting when boiling water for tea. I set the water to 208°F for herbal tea.

Boil extra water than what the tea calls for since you want more to warm up the teapot. 

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Warming teapot with hot water

STEP 2: Warm up teapot.

Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit. Discard the water.

We’re warming up the teapot so that when the rooibos steeps, the water temperature won’t drop drastically.

Making rooibos tea

STEP 3: Put rooibos tea into teapot and add hot water.

The formula is 1 1/2 teaspoons of rooibos tea for every cup of water.

Rooibos tea steeping in hot water

STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.

Herbal teas do best when steeped for a minimum of 5 minutes so we’re doing the same for the rooibos tea.

If you want a stronger brew, add a couple of more minutes to your steep time and/or add another 1/2 teaspoon of rooibos tea.

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Pouring rooibos tea

STEP 5: Strain rooibos solids and pour hot tea into a teacup.

The rooibos bits can escape the stainer so if you want absolutely no rooibos solids in your tea, strain it again, using a fine mesh strainer.

It’s ready to drink — enjoy!

If you want to sweeten your rooibos tea, try sugar, honey, or date syrup.

Iced rooibos tea

How to Make Iced Rooibos Tea Properly

The best way to make iced rooibos tea is to cold brew it!

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

Cold brew rooibos tea

STEP 1: Put rooibos tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.

Again, the formula is the same with 1 1/2 teaspoons of rooibos tea to 1 cup of water.

Put cool or room temperature water into the pitcher with the tea. (I use a glass teapot with strainer.)

Use filtered water for the best-tasting tea.

Cold brew rooibos tea

STEP 2: Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

You can cold brew for up to 24 hours.

Iced rooibos tea

STEP 3: Strain out rooibos solids and pour tea into a cup.

Adding ice is optional when it comes to cold brew since the tea is already chilled.

I prefer my cold brew without any sugar but if your iced peppermint tea sweetened, use simple syrup since it’s the easiest to incorporate into your cold tea.

Simple sugar is super easy to make at home. Just mix equal parts sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

Rooibos Tea Tips

  • Use loose rooibos tea instead of tea bags.
  • If you don’t want to have any small rooibos bits in your tea, strain it twice.
  • Cold brewed rooibos tea can be steeped for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator. Drink within 5 days.
  • Make different kinds of simple syrup by dissolving honey, brown sugar, or date syrup instead of regular sugar in hot water.

Recipes with Rooibos

 

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Rooibos Tea

Rooibos Tea

Yield: Makes 1 serving

How to make rooibos tea properly, hot and cold.

Ingredients

Instructions

    1. Boil water.
      If using an electric kettle with temperature setting, set it to 208°F. Boil a little more water than needed so that it can be used to warm up the teapot.
      (Filtered water tastes best.)
    2. Warm up teapot.
      Pour some hot water into the teapot and cup and swirl it around a bit to warm up them up. Discard the water.
    3. Put rooibos tea into teapot and add hot water.
    4. Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
    5. Strain rooibos solids and pour hot tea into a teacup.

Notes

To make cold brew iced rooibos tea:

  1. Put rooibos tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.
    (Filtered water is best.)
  2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
  3. Strain out rooibos solids and pour tea into a cup. Serve with or without ice.


To sweeten your tea:

If you want to sweeten your tea, use simple syrup.

You can easily make simple sugar at home by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water until the sugar dissolves.

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1 Comment

  • 3 months ago

    One other benefit of rooibos: some life-long drinkers of this tea swear that it whitens their teeth! I wish I could say the same about Camellia tea.

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