Among herbal teas, rooibos tea is the only one that sticks out as being completely distinct. But what makes it so special?
Rooibos tea is made from a bushy herb endemic to the Cederberg region of South Africa, which is located north of Cape Town.
Dutch settlers in South Africa began brewing rooibos tea in the 1700s as a less expensive alternative to expensive black tea.
Rooibos is picked and processed similarly to conventional tea. South Africa produces over 15,000 tons of rooibos per year and exports approximately 7,000 tons.
Scientists are examining the temperature and soil of South Africa, which may be the reason why the plant thrives in only one area on Earth.
The flavor of Rooibos has "smoky, sweet, woody, grassy, vanilla, flowery, geranium, floral, honey, herbal, and caramel" notes.
Rich rooibos is good for cooking. Rooibos flavors ice cream, yogurt, sauces, drinks, and meat marinades.
The rich nutty flavor of rooibos tea pairs well with caramelized onions, and it's so flexible that it works in sophisticated recipes like tea cookies.