How 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 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. 

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. 

Is There Caffeine in Rooibos Tea?

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

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.

RELATED: How to Make Hibiscus Tea Properly

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

Where to Buy Rooibos Tea Online

Whenever possible, it’s best to use loose tea instead of tea in bags since the quality is much better.
The top two rooibos in the photo above are loose and the one at the bottom is from a tea bag. Notice the color difference and uniformity of the loose rooibos compared to the one in a tea bag.

Rooibos Tea Ingredients

What I Use to Make Rooibos Tea

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.).

Hot rooibos tea

How to Make Rooibos Tea Properly

Herbal teas aren’t as fickle when it comes to steep time since they don’t get overly bitter. 

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Warming teapot with hot water

STEP 1: Warm up teapot.

Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit to warm it up. 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 2: Put rooibos tea into teapot and add hot water.

1 1/2 teaspoons of rooibos tea for every cup of water is the formula I like to use.

If you’re using an electric kettle with a temperature setting, set it to 208°F, otherwise you can just use boiling hot water.

Rooibos tea steeping in hot water

STEP 3: Steep for 5 minutes.

Herbal teas do best when steeped for a minimum of 5 minutes. 

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.

RELATED: How to Make Chamomile Tea Properly

Pouring rooibos tea

STEP 4: Strain rooibos solids and pour hot tea into tea cup.

You’ve got yourself a nice and hot cup of rooibos tea!

Iced rooibos tea

How to Make Iced Rooibos Tea Properly

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

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 to 1 cup of water.

Use cool or room temperature water — there’s no need for hot water in the cold brewing process.

Cold brew rooibos tea

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

Iced rooibos tea

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

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

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.
  • I prefer not to sweeten my herbal drinks but if you would like, add simple sugar, which is dissolved sugar in equal part water.

Recipes with Rooibos

Rooibos Latte

Rooibos latte is a cozy hot drink perfect for evenings since there's no caffeine.

GET THE RECIPE
 

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Rooibos Tea

Rooibos Tea

Yield: Makes 1 serving

How to make the rooibos tea properly, hot and cold.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rooibos loose tea
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

    1. 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.
    2. Put rooibos tea into teapot and add hot water.
    3. Steep for 5 minutes.
    4. Strain rooibos solids and pour hot tea into tea cup.

Notes

To make cold brew iced rooibos tea:

  1. Put rooibos tea and water in a pitcher or glass container.
  2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
  3. Strain out rooibos solids and pour tea into cup with ice.

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1 Comment

  • 3 weeks 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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