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Green Rooibos

Green Rooibos – how does that fit with “Redbush Tea”?

The word Rooibos comes from Afrikaans, the language of the Dutch who settled in South Africa about 300 years ago - “rooi” meaning red and “bosch” meaning bush.  So Green Rooibos is a bit of a contradiction in terms!  In this post we give the subject a bit of a stir then serve up some answers.

If you want to try our Green Rooibos Tea you can order it here and the discount code will be applied automatically during checkout. You won’t be disappointed, especially as we’re offering a 15% discount

Green bush, red bush, same bush?

Maybe our Natural Rooibos and our Green Rooibos teas come from different plants – one a green bush, another a red bush?  Nope – they are both from the same Aspalathus Linearis shrub only found in the Cederberg Mountain region of South Africa’s Western Cape.  This plant has reddish stems but produces a mass of short needle-like leaves.  And these leaves are red?  No, at the time of harvesting (in the South African summer, from December to February) the leaves are green.

Aspalathus Linearis shrub

So where does the red come from? 

It’s as a result of the way the leaves, once harvested, are then processed.  The freshly cut green leaves are piled in long low heaps across a flat area of the farm referred to as the “tea court”.  They are left here overnight to “sweat” before going through a carefully managed series of processes that includes bruising, airing and watering.  As a result the leaves oxidize and ferment, gradually turning from green to the reddish amber color that is so characteristic of natural Rooibos.

 Rooibos tea process

How is the green retained?

Green Rooibos

Green Rooibos is basically Rooibos that has not gone through this oxidation and fermentation process.  Immediately after harvesting the freshly cut leaves are heat sterilised and this halts the oxidation process – as the leaves dry they retain their green coloration. 

The oxidation does more than merely change the color of the leaves – it subtly alters the flavor as well.  Original Rooibos, the kind that has been turned red by oxidation, acquires a full-bodied flavor that’s smooth and gentle, along with a natural sweetness and slightly nutty taste.  It steeps into an amber red brew.  Green Rooibos has a more delicate, herbal flavor and steeps into a light orange-yellow cup. 

Is one better for you than the other?

Not really.  Because Green Rooibos is less processed than Original Rooibos it has a slightly higher concentration of the beneficial antioxidants that makes both beverages so good for general wellbeing and health.  In all other respects (apart from the slight difference in color and flavor) the two are virtually identical – caffeine-free, calorie free and sugar free. 

How should I prepare Green Rooibos?

sipping iced tea

The same way you like your Original Rooibos.  Most people steep their Green Rooibos tea for 4-5 minutes in hot water.  If you steep it for longer this will create a stronger and more flavorful cuppa, but without any of the bitterness you get if you brew regular green or black teas – these are high in tannins but Green Rooibos is low in tannins, hence the difference.

You can also make Green Rooibos iced tea, or cold brew it, or make sun tea with it, and it’s great in smoothies or Green Rooibos lattes. 


Got some more questions?

That covers most of the main features of Green Rooibos but if you have further questions about this subtly different version of our Natural Rooibos you might find them on the FAQ section of our website or get in touch with us personally . The best answer, however, is to try some for yourself – you can order your box here.

Green Rooibos


Rooibos Rocks shop

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