Africa was once called “Alkebulan”, and the name translates to “mother of mankind” or “Garden of Eden”. From a closer perspective, you might agree that the continent deserves both these names owing to its rich diversity, resources, and inheritance. It truly is a garden full of thousands of resourceful plants & herbs. However here, we will focus on plants that transform into teas. Africa has a legacy for true teas, we’ve touched this story a few weeks ago. (Read Now).
Now, it's time to look beyond the traditional teas, as we have many more equally delicious treats on the way. Let's learn about the top six African herbal teas you must know and try as a beginner, and this is exactly where you should start your tea journey.
1. Red Rooibos
Often confused with its thousand years old tea cousin Camellia sinensis, Rooibos is an iconic tea gift from South Africa to the world. Back then, when Black tea was an expensive and demanded commodity, early settlers of South Africa perceived Rooibos bush (Aspalathus linearis) as a potential alternative for pricey Black tea. Rooibos was an indigenous herb that grew abundantly around the Cederberg mountain region of South Africa, however, the growth has now expanded to many other regions, with the development of Rooibos tea as a trade. The needle-like leaves of this Aspalathus bush set the starting point of the best caffeine-free Rooibos trade. Similar to the principles of Black tea, upon harvesting & sizing, the rooibos leaves have to go through an oxidation or fermentation phase to welcome its vibrant reddish hue & sensational flavor profile. This deep red brew appears almost like a black tea, hence the herb has derived its name, Red tea. The flavors in contrast are much mellow and sweeter than the black tea and present a lingering earthy hint with zero astringency. Rooibos often gets called by many native names like Red tea, Redbush, bush tea, or Red Rooibos due to their features. It’s a known antioxidant and comes wrapped with many other benefits like better digestion and skin health. With all these attributes, Rooibos makes an excellent caffeine-free tea alternative to Black tea, and at Asami tea, we have grabbed all these South African essences in the most authentic way. (try now)
2. Green Rooibos
Just like the Green tea of the tea family, Green Rooibos represents the most exclusive version of the Rooibos family. Green Rooibos or the Rooibos Green tea is prepared from the harvested leaves of the Rooibos bush; Aspalathus linearis, however, the processing style makes it all distinct to the features of red rooibos.
Similar to true green tea processing, Green Rooibos also does not go through the regular oxidation or fermentation phase, so it's regarded as an unfermented rooibos tea version. After processing, the tea leaves have a light green color, followed by an appealing pale yellow brew. This fresher and unfermented Rooibos version has a growing demand among herbal tea lovers due to its high antioxidant content, mild and sweet flavor profile followed by zero astringency. Like in Red Rooibos tea, this Green rooibos also makes a perfect caffeine-free enjoyment for tea aficionados. With its soothing attributes, Green rooibos is a safe tea for pregnancy and for breastfeeding mothers due to its caffeine-free nature and other benefits. Explore the Asami herbal collection today to find out the best-fit Rooibos version for your every mode.
Honeybush, of course, is a very close relative of our favorite herbal tea, Rooibos. They belong to the same plant family but different species. Honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia), is a woody shrub with thin leaves and aromatic bright yellow flowers. The name Honeybush pays homage to the incredible honey scent of these flowers & this indigenous herb has long been known as a local herbal brew. Similar to Rooibos, Honeybush is also goes through an oxidation or fermentation phase to develop its color aroma and flavors. Once processed, the Honeybush tea leaves look almost like rooibos, however, the flavors are comparatively different as Honeybush exhibits a full-bodied character with a slightly sweet and floral honey appeal. You could also find Green Honeybush or the unfermented version, but the availability is fairly lesser when compared to the regular Honeybush tea. Honeybush tea's benefits are numerous, and the prominent benefits include its antioxidant properties, anti-aging properties & overall body health. Above all these benefits, this tea is such a delicious treat for all tea/coffee lovers, and that is why we have included it in our delicious tea creations. (try now)
4. The Cocoa family
Did you know that almost 70% of Global Cocoa beans demand is fulfilled by nearly four countries of the African Continent? Yes, West Africa is the home for some best demanded Cocoa beans, the starting point of the most lingering dessert of all; Chocolate. But, Chocolate is not the only delicacy you get from these amazing Cocoa beans, and there is plenty more. At Asami, we have crafted some exceptional teas and related products using other Cacao ingredients, which are as delightful as Chocolate, yet not known by many.
· Cacao Shell tea: cacao shell tea is also known as cocoa husk tea. This chocolate tea is simply loose leaf tea made from the shell of sun-dried cacao beans. It has a chocolatey aroma and flavor with the sensation of an herbal tea. It has incredible mood-boosting (theobromine) properties and is high in antioxidants and flavonoids. Cacao is an amazing superfood loaded with nutrients. Great served hot or iced. (Try Now)
History says this simple yellow flower tea was originated in Egypt, but today this is all over the world. Owing to rich soils and temperate climatic conditions, South Africa stands among the leading global chamomile producers today. The processing method of Chamomile tea is pretty straightforward, as the flowers go through a simple drying process after harvesting. The dried flowers produce a golden yellow brew with a soothing sweet character and a silky mouthfeel. An ideal tea to induce a calming sensation, and often regarded as a great tea for digestion as well. (try now)
6. MORINGA Moringa oleifera Lam.
Moringa or Miracle Tree is a plant that has been used for years in Africa for everything from food to water purification for its beneficial properties. This 'wonder tree' truly is wondrous in that each part of the tree is useful. The roots, stems, leaves, seed pods, resin and flowers are considered to be healing herbs according to traditional healing medicine. In modern times, the leaves and seed pods are utilized extensively due to their nutrient content and modern studies are investigating their vast potential.
Moringa is cultivated in all over Africa. The leaves have an extremely high nutrient value and beverage is made from the leaf, either as a standard tea or as a type of reconstituted dried leaf juice. (try now)
Well, that’s only the tip of the iceberg of herbal teas, and we are yet to dive deep. Enjoy your favorite Asami tea and stay refreshed until we come back with the next episode of this awesome African tea journey.