How to Make Rooibos Tea Properly (Hot & Iced)

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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 it properly, hot and cold.

Rooibos tea steeping in water

Rooibos Tea

  • Rooibos tea is a tisane, or an herbal tea, made by infusing rooibos in water.
  • The more leaves in a rooibos, the higher the quality. The more stems, the lower the quality.
  • South Africa is the only country that produced rooibos and have been for centuries.
  • It’s native to South Africa’s mountainous region of Cederberg.
  • Rooibos means “red bush” in Afrikaans, a language of southern Africa.
  • Naturally caffeine-free.
  • There are two kinds — rooibos and green rooibos. They differ in how they’re processed. The fully oxidized (exposed to air before drying) rooibos is red in color. The green rooibos is less oxidized.

RELATED: How to Make Herbal Tea Properly

Rooibos Tea Brewing Guide

TO MAKE HOT ROOIBOS TEA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose rooibos tea
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
208°F
STEEP TIME:
5 minutes

TO MAKE COLD BREW ROOIBOS TEA
TEA:
1.5 teaspoons loose rooibos tea
WATER:
1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
WATER TEMPERATURE:
Cold water
STEEP TIME:
12 hours

Rooibos Tea Ingredients

What You’ll Need 

TO MAKE HOT ROOIBOS TEA

TO MAKE COLD BREW ROOIBOS TEA

My Electric Kettle Pick:

Bonavita Electric Kettle

Photo Credit: amazon.com

The electric kettle I use and love. Has a water temperature setting, which is key to making great tea.
SEE PRICE ON AMAZON
Hot rooibos tea

How to Make Hot rooibos tea Properly

STEP 1: Boil water.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: 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. 

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.

STEP 3: Put rooibos tea into teapot and add 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.

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

The rooibos bits can escape the strainer 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

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

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

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

Use filtered water for the best-tasting tea.

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

You can cold brew for up to 24 hours.

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 you like your iced rooibos tea sweetened, use simple syrup since it’s the easiest to incorporate into your cold tea.

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

ROOIBOS TEA TIPS

  • If you don’t want to have any small rooibos bits in your tea, strain it twice.
  • Use rooibos in place of black tea if you want to make a caffeine-free tea.
  • Make different kinds of simple syrup by dissolving honey, brown sugar, or date syrup instead of regular sugar in hot water.

QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE

How do you pronounce rooibos?

The common pronunciation of rooibos is ROY-BOSS, but when said quickly, it sounds more like ROY-BUS.

What does rooibos tea taste like?

Rooibos tastes like mild tea with woody and earthy notes with a touch of honey.

Can I add milk and sugar?

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

Is there caffeine?

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

What’s the difference between loose tea, tea sachets, and tea bags?

Use loose rooibos to make a better quality cup of tea. Tea sachets are lesser in quality than loose tea, and tea bags are the lowest quality.

Is rooibos tea a real tea?

Rooibos tea comes from the rooibos plant, not the camellia sinensis plant so it’s not a real or true tea. Real tea is tea that comes from the camellia sinensis plant. Teas that comes from the camellia sinensis plant are black, oolong, green, yellow, white, and puerh teas. All these teas contain caffeine.

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Rooibos Tea

Author: Jee Choe
How to make this red-colored herbal tea properly, hot and cold.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Steep Time 5 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving

INGREDIENTS
 

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • 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 is best.
  • Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into a teapot and swirl it around. Discard the water.
  • Put rooibos tea into teapot and add hot water.
  • Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain rooibos solids and pour hot tea into a teacup.

NOTES

TO MAKE COLD BREW ROOIBOS
1. Put rooibos tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.
Filtered water is best for making hot and iced tea.
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 ICED TEA
To sweeten rooibos iced tea, use simple syrup. You can easily make simple syrup at home by mixing equal parts sugar and hot water until sugar dissolves.
Keyword cold brew rooibos tea, how to make rooibos tea, rooibos tea
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