Rooibos Tea: Matcha’s Uncaffeinated African Cousin

While Matcha is probably my favorite way to get a large boost of antioxidants, not everyone can have caffeine. For people who cannot, Rooibos, or African Red Bush Tea, is an excellent stand in (it contains none). No, they aren’t actually related, but tout pretty similar benefits.


The tea packs a pretty large dose of antioxidants, that can help fight free-radicals, kill cancer cells, and possibly prevent tumors. It contains the polyphenol aspalathin, which may have anti-diabetic affects. AND it helps to inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme, or ACE, which can therefore affect your blood pressure in a positive way. ACE causes blood vessel constriction, which raises your bp. Finally, there is promising evidence of Rooibos lowering cholesterol levels!


Rooibos is a delicious tea that is grown in the western cape of South Africa. A fermentation process gives it the beautiful red-brown color and a pretty earthy flavor. It is consumed much the same as regular black tea, so you could just add some sugar or honey and a bit of milk, or you could drink it as iced tea. It is even sometimes made into lattes (my favorite), cappuccinos, and espresso!


If you go to a coffee shop with a large tea selection, you may be able to ask them to make you a Rooibos tea latte. They can use a small amount of concentrated, steeped hot tea, and add steamed milk to fill the cup. I love them with a pump or two of vanilla because it really meshes well with the earthy flavors. This is actually something that is relatively common if you live in British Columbia. In my early twenties I went crazy over the number of coffee houses in Vancouver that had Rooibos tea lattes! It hasn’t quite caught on in America yet, but I certainly hope it does!


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