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And as such, the UK was forced to turn to more readily available sources for their tea. The source for tea that was ultimately came to be used was rooibos, Aspalathus linearis, a plant grown exclusively in South Africa (and which was under English control during WWII).
Now, rooibos tea is NOT a true tea...as it is not grown from the tea plant Camellia sinensis. However, unlike most herbal teas (another "non-tea"), rooibos tea contains much of the healthy anti-oxidants found in traditional teas.
And, as a happy bonus, rooibos tea is naturally caffeine free too.
Because of these two unique characteristics of Rooibos teas, the popularity of rooibos is surging...as you can get your healthy anti-oxidants while avoiding the caffeine levels found in white, green, oolong and black teas.
Rooibos tea is a red tea as it is fully fermented. That is...the leaves are red. And indeed...when you open up your tea package of rooibos tea, you'll see the red. I personally find it a very pretty tea.
A unfermented version of rooibos is also available and is called green rooibos.
In comparison to more traditional teas, most tea drinkers will find the flavor of a straight rooibos tea (nothing added) to be somewhat sweet and non-bitter. Due to teas quality to be "non-bitter," thus allowing for longer steeping times, you'll find many different infusions that go perfectly with rooibos teas. In particular, rooibos chocolate mint is a delicious tea that no-one should go a lifestime without trying.
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