Rooibos Tea: Tea or Not a Tea?

rooibos tea

After my publication about different tea types, I've been asked online and offline "What about rooibos tea?" My first inclination to reply is usually, "What about it?", but I swallow my words and try to explain the truth about rooibos tea. Rooibos tea is not a real tea! Now I can already hear some of you saying I don't know what I am talking about.

So now I would question, what led you to believe that rooibos tea is it's own type of tea? If I was to venture a guess, places like David's Tea or Teavana may have had some influence in this. In all honestly, I used to think the same way. In fact, I almost added rooibos in as it's own category as well. The truth is, rooibos tea falls under the category of herbal tea. There are no tea leaves in rooibos tea and rooibos itself is a very different species of plant than tea.


What is Rooibos?

rooibos plantRooibos is a plant that currently grows on the western cape of South Africa. This plant seems to be climate specific and sources say that all attempts to be grown outside of South Africa have failed. As rooibos is not made from tea leaves, it is also caffeine free and has it's own plethora of health benefits. It is sometimes known as the "red bush tea". No matter how much we may want to call it another tea type however, the South African Rooibos Council themselves have confirmed it is not a true tea, but an herb. The most common method of production is being fermented, like black tea, but can also be produced similar to green tea with no oxidation. The green method is more expensive to produce than regular fermentation.

Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea.

As mentioned before, there is no caffeine in rooibos tea. Therefore, if you are looking for something that has no tea in it, here is a valid option. Many tea blends add rooibos to black tea, green tea, and white teas as well. Should you have a caffeine addiction, this tea can help curb your caffeine addiction.

Rooibos teas also have polyphenols. Sounds all sciencey doesn't it? Polyphenols are present in all teas and what gives teas the antioxidant properties. Rooibos tea, has these same types of polyphenos.

Other health benefits would include improvement of bone health, cardiovascular health, balances blood sugar levels, and many other health benefits.

rooibos health benefits


Some may still argue rooibos tea should still have it's own category. I mean, with all the similarities to regular tea, why not? It can be processed like black or green tea. It has similar health benefits like the other tea families. I agree with all of you in that sense. However, it still does come down to, it is not tea leaves and is classified as a herb. So rooibos tea is an herbal infusion. If rooibos tea is added to a green tea, black tea, or white tea, I would consider rooibos an additive, and not the main tea.  Did I change your mind? Did you ever consider rooibos tea it's own category? Let me know your thoughts on this below. Until next time!

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