The best way to drink your Rooibos this International Tea Day

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This Saturday (May 21), tea lovers everywhere can relax with a hot cup of tea while celebrating International Tea Day.

According to SA Rooibos Council, this Rooibos is a crowd favorite the world over, and although its origins are in South Africa, each country has its own way of enjoying this delicious tea.

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SARC spokeswoman Adele du Toit said a study had been conducted to explore the different traditions of drinking Rooibos tea.

That’s what they found.

Different nations have incorporated their own unique blends of Rooibos tea

How do other nations enjoy Rooibos tea?
“Those of English descent drink rooibos with milk and sugar while those from Eastern countries enjoy weak rooibos, without sugar or milk.

“In contrast, Europeans, who come from a more herbaceous background, like to infuse Rooibos with more herbs with delicate flavors,” she said.

“Americans like their Rooibos mostly cold or iced and use more flavorful teas, so Rooibos becomes a carrier.”

The study also showed that the majority of South Africans enjoy Rooibos in its purest form without the addition of milk, with only 21% sweetening their drink with sugar, sweetener or honey.

“About 20% add a splash of lemon to their Rooibos, 7% spice it up with cinnamon, while 2% of respondents experiment with fruit. Some also said they like to add a little whiskey or gin to a little extra ‘kick’ in their Rooibos,” she said.

The Rooibos Flavor Wheel is a guide to experimenting with different fruits and spices, or pairing Rooibos with a dish

What is the best way to drink Rooibos?
Du Toit explained that the flavor profile of Rooibos is unique. Although it brews into a deep red cup, the flavor is very different from black teas.

‘Infuse your Rooibos with one or two teaspoons of loose leaf, one sachet per cup [250ml] boiling water for at least five minutes,” she explained.

“Letting it steep longer will increase the antioxidant content. Avoid pouring boiling water directly over the tea bag as it is not the best way to get the optimal level of antioxidants from your cup.

‘First, fill your cup with boiling water then add loose Rooibos leaves or your tea bag. The Rooibos can then be tasted immediately, or stored in the refrigerator to be consumed fresh.

She advised consumers to use the flavor wheel to get the most out of the drink.

“Start by determining the overall taste and aroma of Rooibos – the base notes – working from the outer circle towards the center.”

“If it tastes fruity, determine if it’s more citrus or berry, etc.

“Choose what you know and experiment with different blends, or create your own Rooibos infusion by adding fruit or spices,” she explained.

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