Rooibos is not made from the tea plant, our well-known Camellia sinensis, but from a bush of South African origin, Aspalathus linearis. Although in Afrikaans its name would translate as “red bush” we should not confuse rooibos with red tea since, basically, rooibos is not a tea.
Although rooibos is used to prepare an infusion and is often called “rooibos tea”, it is a tisane with a pleasant sweet and fruity taste.
Why drink rooibos instead of tea?
Rooibos has become famous for being a tisane that does not contain the usual caffeine in the world of teas. It is ideal for those who want to reduce the consumption of this substance or for those who, for some reason, want to avoid it completely (pregnant women, for example).
If you suffer from anemia, it is likely that your doctor has recommended that you reduce your intake of tea. This is because tannins could interfere with iron absorption, potentially aggravating the disease. The advantage of rooibos? You can enjoy a cup of tisane that is reminiscent of tea but has a lower proportion of tannins.
Rooibos, like tea, is a drink rich in antioxidants and also contains a significant amount of vitamin C.
Now, do you know how to properly prepare your cup of rooibos? Surely you think: “of course, it is not so difficult”. It is true that if you are used to preparing infusions, you know the secrets to take advantage of each herb, however there are always some tricks that can help us improve our preparations. Let’s discover them together.
How to prepare rooibos?
Let’s see step by step how you can take advantage of your rooibos and prepare a truly wonderful infusion.
1. Better in bulk than bagged
The great secret of a good infusion is to have first class raw material. If the herb to be used is of poor quality, the infusion will not have the desired flavor.
Rooibos follows the same general rules as tea: pay attention to the integrity of its leaves. The highest quality teas are made up of whole leaves and little degraded, while in those of inferior quality you can find pieces of leaves, stems and even powder.
For this reason, it is always better to try to avoid the infusion bags, even if it is easier to find them. Bags do not allow flavors to develop properly and are often used to accumulate lower quality raw material.
2. Be careful with tap water
Water is, along with the herb to be used, the most important ingredient in the preparation, and yet one of the most neglected. In general, we do not take this variable into account and this is when the infusion fails.
Being the main component of an infusion, if the water contains lime or a certain amount of salinity, it could affect the final taste. For this reason, we recommend using a water softener or, failing that, opt for bottled water.
3. Water temperature
A fairly common mistake is to prepare the infusion using the electric jug. The main problem with this choice is that the water reaches a boil, which can burn the herb to be infused and definitely affect the final result.
The ideal would be to use a kettle that allows us to control that the water does not reach a boil. Remember that the water should be at a temperature of around 90-95ºC for rooibos. To check the temperature you can use a kitchen thermometer or simply bring the water to a boil and then let it cool down a bit.
4. Adjust the quantities
Another important step is to adapt the amount of herb to the infusion that we are going to prepare. In the case of rooibos you should calculate about 2.5 grams per cup. Of course, you can use more or less depending on whether you like it softer or more intense.
5. The time of the infusion
How long you let each herb infuse will affect its final flavor. In the specific case of rooibos, about 7 minutes of infusion before drinking is recommended.
When the wait is over, remove the rooibos from the water, do not leave it in it while you drink. If not, the flavor of the infusion will evolve, becoming more intense and even bitter.
How to prepare rooibos latte?
The rooibos latte is a combination of rooibos and milk that has become popular since its inclusion in the beverage catalog of the popular Starbucks chain.
If you want to prepare it at home, it is very simple. We explain how.
We recommend preparing it in a large cup or glass so that there is room for the foam, let’s say about 400 cl.
- Make a rooibos concentrate. To do this, heat about 100 cl of water and infuse two teaspoons of rooibos or an infusion sachet. You can sweeten this preparation to your liking. For those with a sweet tooth, the combination also lends itself to adding a little condensed milk. In any case, add what you want before mixing it with the milk (see later steps).
- You will need about 300 cl of milk. The ideal for the rooibos latte is to use foamed milk. If you have a machine to do it, perfect. If not, it will be more work, but you can beat the cold milk manually or with a mixer until it foams. Next, heat the frothed milk in the microwave.
- Pour the frothed milk into the large mug gently. Next, add the rooibos concentrate to one side, trying not to crush the foam. The rooibos concentrate should stay in the bottom of the cup, separate from the frothed milk.
And ready! It is a very easy recipe but it is not usually prepared at home. In addition, it is ideal for children, since it does not contain caffeine and they usually love its sweet taste.
Enjoy your cup of rooibos
Now that you know the tricks to prepare a perfect cup of rooibos, get to work! Remember that you can infuse the rooibos directly in the teapot and serve later in the cups or use individual infusers. Either way, you will be able to enjoy a tea with a simply delicious taste.