Rooibus Royale

I had a friend who grew up in South African proclaim Rooibus teas the ultimate tea to drink. The tea is from a select genus of plants that are only grown in a small area near Cape Town. It’s a legume! The Rooibus teas contain no caffeine and the harvesting process is completely free of additives.

Yeah, I thought – it’s just tea. But I bought a bag and brought it home to brew in my fancy-schmancy Bodum teapot. I know it sounds totally dorky to use the term “full-bodied” but that is exactly what this tea is like. It’s not the thin scent of the green teas I find at Starbucks or Caribou – but a deep set of smells that is thick. A little sweet tobacco-ish smell – and it brews a deep deep red. And Douglas Adams is right, Americans don’t know how to brew tea for shit. The slight gradation between hot water and boiling water hitting the tea leaves does make a difference.

If you can’t find it at your local tea shop – or don’t even have a local tea shop – you can mail order it from My Place For Tea, a Chicago tea shop run by a Filipino couple who seem to be distant cousins to Ron and from the same province. There was an article about them in the Trib several weeks ago talking about their passion for tea, it’s health benefits and a rationale of tea as a relaxant instead of the crazed coffee culture others ascribe too. Their store actually has no coffee in it at all because the smell of the beans and brewing so easily overpowers other scents. But they do have bubble tea which is awesome. And if you grew up in a Filipino househould – they are also distributors for the famed Goldilocks pastries that Ron and his friends talk about all the time. And I’ve had a couple and they are delicious – sweet with a slight gummy chewiness and loaded with transfat. Mmmm…. transfat!