Rooibos Tea - have you tried it?

Rooibos or Redbush Tea is a caffeine free herbal tea that grows exclusively in South Africa. Whilst it has been consumed there for hundreds of years, it is really only in the last 20-30 years that it has got world-wide attention. Aside from some great marketing, a fictional character from Botswana had a fair amount to do with that rise in popularity!

Rooibos cultivation is limited to a very small area in the Cederberg Mountains near the Western Cape.  Little Spoon was lucky enough to visit during a time in his life when he still ironed his shirts.  In the picture above you can see him harvesting a bush with a very sharp sickle.  

And it's not red!  This change in appearance takes place during the processing stages when the redbush is oxidised and dried.  It's very much like the process involved in making black tea.

Rooibos became more popular in 1990s as the favoured drink of Precious Ramotswe, female private eye in Alexander McCall Smith's "No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency."  She drank her rooibos tea with honey and Big Spoon can vouch it is a delicious combination.

So if you haven't tried Redbush tea before, give it a go. It has a sweet taste, with hints of vanilla and sometimes smoke.  It is most commonly drunk without milk although it actually takes it quite well.