Answering Your Questions About Rooibos Tea


As you may expect, we love all things tea here at Leaf Tea Shop. We like drinking it, creating new experimental loose-leaf blends, and keeping up to date with the industry as a whole.

Part of this means that we do research on what people are saying about all the different types of teas, and recently we found that lots of people have questions about one type of tea in particular: rooibos!

So, we’ve scoured the internet, picked out some of the most frequently asked questions, and (as the tea-experts that we are) decided to answer them all here in one helpful place.

Let’s start with probably the most asked question out there…


How to pronounce rooibos?

You pronounce rooibos as if you are saying “roy-boss”. It is an Afrikaans word that translates to red bush, which is what the rooibos leaves look like after they have been fermented.

We’ve heard a lot of different rooibos tea pronunciations over the years, “roo-ee-bus” probably being the most common! But now you know and can confidently walk into any café and ask for a “roy-boss” tea like a real tea-whiz.


What is rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea, also known as red tea, is a herbal infusion derived from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis plant, native to South Africa. 

Known for its ruby-red appearance, earthy and slightly sweet flavour profile. Unlike traditional teas made from Camellia sinensis, Rooibos undergoes a unique fermentation process, which gives it its distinct colour and taste. 

Beyond its health advantages, Rooibos tea is celebrated for its natural, caffeine-free composition, making it a soothing and hydrating choice suitable for all ages and preferences. 

Whether enjoyed hot or cold, Rooibos tea continues to be exported worldwide for tea lovers to enjoy!


How is rooibos tea made?

There are two main forms of rooibos tea. All rooibos starts as green leaves from the Aspalathus linearis shrub that are then fermented. How long the fermenting process lasts dictates what rooibos tea is made.

With a small, limited amount of fermentation, the leaves remain green and have a smooth and mellow flavour. When the fermentation lasts for longer, the leaves turn red into the iconic rooibos colour that likely springs to mind when you think of rooibos (and reflects the red-bush name).

We have both green rooibos tea and red, so why not try both and see what you prefer for yourself!


What does rooibos tea taste like?

Pure rooibos tea has a nutty flavour with an element of natural sweetness. It is quite a robust tea and can become rather full-bodied the longer you brew it for.

Probably one of the best features of pure rooibos tea is that its herbal base provides a great starting point for creating flavourful blends. It compliments other flavours beautifully, so much so that we have amazing rooibos teas that contain mint, chilli, and vanilla, among many more!

One of our most popular rooibos tea blends is our Mango My Days tea which contains mango, petals, carrot, and kombucha as well as green rooibos leaves. We use this tea to create summery ice lollies for peak refreshment!


What are the benefits of drinking rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea is high in antioxidants and can reduce inflammation around the body, as well as combat the effects of unwanted free radicals.

There are many other potential benefits that come with drinking rooibos tea, most of which need more peer-reviewed research before they can be officially confirmed. One of these is the potential for green rooibos tea to control diabetes with the presence of a specific antioxidant, aspalathin.


Are there any rooibos tea side effects?

There is the potential that rooibos tea has some side effects on cancer patients, specifically for hormone-related cancers.

While the high presence of antioxidants is generally a benefit of rooibos, they can actually decrease the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Then there’s also a compound within rooibos tea that mimics oestrogen, which can be problematic for individuals with certain cancers.

For the majority of healthy individuals out there, rooibos provides no issues and is a lovely way to enjoy a caffeine-free cup of tea before bed or have a refreshing pick-me-up in the mornings.


Is rooibos tea caffeine free?

Yes, rooibos tea is naturally caffeine free because it is a herbal tea.

Herbal teas, or tisanes, are differentiated from black, white, or green teas because they are not made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant (the tea plant).

Feel free to add rooibos tea to your bedtime collection alongside chamomile to vary your choice of evening beverage. How exciting!… Just us?


Is rooibos tea safe during pregnancy?

Yes, rooibos is safe for pregnant women as it is caffeine free.

Women are advised to limit their caffeine intake while pregnant, not exceeding 200mg of caffeine per day – which is half of the usual limit that doctors advise at 400mg of caffeine.


Does rooibos tea stain teeth?

Compared to other teas, rooibos does not stain teeth.

One of the main components of tea that contributes to stained teeth is tannins. Rooibos tea is naturally low in tannins, whereas black tea, for example, is quite high in tannins.

There is also the fact that rooibos has a rather low acidic profile, too. This prevents the acid from damaging your enamel and making your teeth more prone to staining.


Are there tannins in rooibos tea?

Rooibos tea is low in tannins, but they are still present at less than 5% tannins content. In comparison, black tea has around 15% tannin content.

You know when you brew a cup of tea for too long and it has that really bitter taste that gets stuck to your tongue and your teeth? That’s the tannins. They can actually cause nausea and stomach upset if you drink high-tannins tea on an empty stomach, but with rooibos tea you shouldn’t have to worry about this.


Any more questions?

We hope that you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit about one of our favourite types of teas! If you have any more questions then see our other post on rooibos tea, feel free to get in touch with us on social media, or pop into one of our stores and speak to our amazing team members who will be more than happy to help.