Leaf Type: Rooibos
Where to Buy: The Secret Garden Tea Co.
Our secret, scrumptious blend. Perfect afternoon tea or as a digestif after a heavy meal.
Ingredients: Rooibos, safflower and rose petals, blackberry leaves, natural flavors
Learn more about this blend here.
This – brewed – smells AMAZING. I am picking up on distinct vanilla notes. Creamy and luscious!
And it tastes delightful. I’ve never made any big secret about the fact that I’m not the biggest fan of rooibos. I’d much rather sip on camellia sinensis. But, when I shouldn’t be drinking caffeine (later in the evening) but I still want something “tea-ish,” rooibos is a good alternative.
To brew this tisane, I went with my go-to temperature for rooibos: 195°F and I steeped the tisane for 10 minutes. Because rooibos doesn’t have the high tannin content of camellia sinensis, you can steep it longer to get the most out of the flavor. I brewed this in my Breville tea maker, using 2 bamboo scoops of tisane to 500ml of water.
Now, most tea purveyors will tell you that you can (or should) use boiling water for rooibos, but I recommend dropping the temperature slightly. I find that when I steep rooibos with boiling water, the flavor becomes “funky.” It has a weird taste that I want to describe as “sour wood.” Like a tisane that was made out of steeped sour wood and sweetened with saccharine. I’m not a fan of sour wood (not that I’ve actually tasted it, so I guess I should say that I don’t think of myself as a fan of it) and I really don’t like saccharine. So, I did some experimentation, and I found that by lowering the steep temperature a little, the saccharine-y sour wood flavor goes away and then I experience rooibos as a sweet, nutty, slightly woodsy flavor that I much prefer to the saccharine sour wood.
I noticed the delightful vanilla fragrance immediately as I began to pour the liquid into my favorite teacup. And this has a delicious vanilla flavor. I taste light floral notes as well and hints of berry. And of course, I do get some notes of nut and honey from the rooibos.
It all comes together in a very delicious way. It’s smooth and creamy. The vanilla notes meld with the natural nutty flavors of the rooibos. The hints of berry tickle the tip of my tongue in the aftertaste.
It’s a very relaxing tisane, and it has a dessert-y taste to it, making this an ideal tisane to choose for after dinner. (A fat-free dessert substitute, perhaps?) It’s sweet but not too sweet.
I like this one best served hot. It doesn’t need any additions, it has a nice sweetness to it without adding anything. A splash of milk might be nice if you want to enhance the creaminess of it, but I found it to be really pleasant and creamy without the addition of dairy.