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 loose tea steeping in water in a glass teapot.

What is Rooibos Tea?

  • Rooibos tea is a tisane, or an herbal tea, made by infusing rooibos in water.
  • It’s naturally caffeine-free.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Want more caffeine-free herbal teas? Try Chamomile, Hibiscus, Peppermint, and Rose.

Rooibos tea ingredients on a surface.

What You’ll Need 

TO MAKE HOT ROOIBOS TEA

TO MAKE COLD BREW ICED ROOIBOS TEA

My Electric Kettle Pick

Photo Credit: amazon.com

The electric kettle I use and love. Has a water temperature setting, which is key to making great tea.
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Hot rooibos tea in a glass mug.

How to Make Hot Rooibos Tea Properly

For brewing guide, full ingredients and instructions, scroll to the bottom.

STEP 1: Boil water.

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. 

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.

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 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.

RELATED: How to Make a Rooibos Tea Latte

Iced rooibos tea in a glass cup.

How to Make Iced Rooibos Tea Properly

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

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

Use filtered water for the best tasting iced tea.

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

You can cold brew for up to 24 hours.

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

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

Serving Suggestions

Rooibos can be had with and without sugar and/or milk. Or you can just have it as is.

To sweeten hot rooibos tea, try sugar, honey, or date syrup.

I prefer my cold brew without any sugar but if you like yours 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. Make different kinds of simple syrup by dissolving honey, brown sugar, or date syrup instead of regular sugar in hot water.

Notes & 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 in a recipe.
  • Rooibos tastes great as a tea latte.

Storage Tips

Rooibos tea can be brewed and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Keep it covered or airtight glass container or pitcher.

Loose rooibos tea and tea sachets should be stored in an airtight container away from light, odors, humidity, and heat.

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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Pouring rooibos tea into a glass mug.

Rooibos Tea

Author: Jee Choe
How to make this red-colored herbal tea properly, hot and cold.
5 from 7 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. Filtered water is best. ½Boil a little more water than needed so that it can be used to warm up the teapot.
  • 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 ICED ROOIBOS TEA
1. Put rooibos tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.
Filtered water is best for a better tasting 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 with ice.
Ice is optional since the tea is already chilled.

Hot Rooibos Tea Brewing Guide
  • TEA: 1 ½ teaspoons loose rooibos tea or 1 tea sachet
  • WATER: 1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
  • WATER TEMPERATURE: 208°F
  • STEEP TIME: 5 minutes
 
Cold Brew Iced Rooibos Tea Brewing Guide
  • TEA: 1 ½ teaspoons loose rooibos tea or 1 tea sachet
  • WATER: 1 cup (8 fl. oz.)
  • WATER TEMPERATURE: Cold water
  • STEEP TIME: 12 hours

The nutrition information is an estimate calculated using an online nutrition calculator.

Keyword cold brew rooibos tea, how to make rooibos tea
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