Saturday, March 16, 2013

Simple pleasures: Red tea or Rooibos tea

This is a delicious alternative to black tea (which I mostly don't care for) or green tea (which I do like). This red-colored tisane is also called red bush tea, comes from South Africa and first came to my attention in the mystery series by Alexander McCall, starting with The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

I love the stuff.

Red bush tea, rooibos tea or red tea, the result is a slightly sweet and nutty hot drink that is surprisingly good for you. The tea has LOTS of antioxidents while being low in caffeine and tannins found in black or green teas. It might also contain flavonoids known to be cancer-fighting elements.

Gorgeous color, right? Most of the time it is difficult to find rooibos without extensive flavoring, so it is difficult to find a red tea that really allows one to savor the taste.

Some of my favorites include Mariage Freres teas Marco Polo Rouge (rooibos with fruit and flowers from China and Tibet -- hence, Marco Polo) and Nil Rouge (citrus, spices and marigold flowers). Another source here in the states that is easy to find are the Republic of Tea choices: Good Hope Vanilla red tea, Safari Sunset red tea, Cinnamon Orange red tea (yum!), etc.

This is a great afternoon/early evening tea, because it has plenty of flavor but not so much caffeine. So you don't get a jump from it. It's a great tea with fruit and cheese, for example, but not really an after-dinner tea or a breakfast tea. Make a pot and enjoy!

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