Stu: After meeting Jenna from The Art of Tea at a recent conference in Hobart I was intrigued at the health properties that herbal teas have to offer. We tried a Rooibos blend which gave us a natural pick-me-up minus the caffeine which has now become one of my favourite afternoon brews. Over to Jenna…
Jenna: We had a great time meeting Stu and Guy at Changing the Way We Eat conference in Hobart in August, and now we get to share with all of you the wonderful benefits of tea!
Today I’m going to share with you two types of teas that have no caffeine (and even are missing the tea plant, Camellia sinensis). Best of all, unlike some of the varieties from Camellia sinensis teas, herbal and fruit tisanes and rooibos teas brew up well in boiling water with little regard for brewing time – you can’t make it bitter, I promise!
Herbal and fruit tisanes
Everyone has heard of a few of the herbal tea varieties such as peppermint, lemongrass and ginger and chamomile, but there are many other great blends. Herbal infusions are generally designed with a purpose in mind – to help you sleep, assist the detoxing organs in the body like your liver and kidneys, even to help minimise inflammation in the body or assist breastfeeding mums! Pick an issue, there is a tea blend that can help you achieve your health goal. The benefits of choosing a specifically designed herbal blend is that it can target your issue instead of just being a tasty beverage. Fruit based teas also pack a host of benefits – all the vitamins and minerals end up in your cup (the best fruit tisanes are just freeze-dried fruit, of course – check your ingredients!) as well as being very tasty and easy to drink. This is a great option for children who might get bored with plain water – unlike juice, fruit tisanes should be whole fruit infused in water, not the extracted juice.
Rooibos (prounouced roy-boss) is a South African plant used as a tea. Like Cameliia sinensis in Asia, there are formal ceremonies for ‘red tea’ in South Africa, but we love it for its taste and health benefits! It has a sweet and nutty flavour which makes it perfect for blending with fruit and other sweet additions. With an impressive mineral profile and no caffeine (naturally, it comes that way), rooibos is a great hydrator. Rooibos contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, sodium, as well as trace elements copper and manganese. This makes it the perfect sports drink or summer “punch”! No need to buy one from the supermarket, just brew up a cup before your gym session/little one’s play date, fill the drink bottle with ice and pour the hot tea over. Instant, refreshing, healthy iced tea (without all the sugars you’ll find in commercial options).
With its non-existent caffeine levels, its also the perfect night time tea for those of you who are caffeine sensitive of have trouble sleeping. With some of the “old favourite” tea flavours available in a rooibos base (Earl Grey Rooibos and Rooibos Chais for example) means you don’t have to go without your favourites when cutting the caffeine.
Cooking with Herbal and Rooibos blends
Along with your 180 protein powder, some brewed herbal or rooibos tea makes a great addition to your slice, protein balls or breads. Simply substitute the water/juice/milk for brewed tea to bring a different flavour to your cooking. Rooibos tea is also widely used in South Africa as a reduced syrup on desserts, a smoking tea on meats and fish or even a casserole base in your slow cooker.
Instant and Easy Iced Tea Recipe (makes a 2L jug)
- 10 teaspoons of rooibos tea of your preferred flavour
- 1L Boiling water
- Fruit & herbs to flavour/garnish
- 1L teapot with infuser or strainer
- 2L jug
- Put the tea in the strainer in your pot and pour hot water over the leaves. Leave for around 10 mins to brew (usually 1 teaspoon per 250ml is fine for a cuppa, its best to have a fuller flavour for iced tea as we’re watering it down with ice).
- Fill your serving jug right to the top with ice fresh from the freezer. Add in any chopped fruit (such as berries, lemon or oranges) or herbs (mint is great in iced tea, especially fresh from your window-sill pot!) you’d like to amplify the flavour of your finished tea.
- Pour the hot tea over the ice, fruit and herbs then leave for 5-10 minutes until the ice has dissolved. Pour into drinking glasses and enjoy!
What’s your favourite herbal tea? and why?
The Art of Tea is a Tasmanian tea company who serve hundreds of customers each weekend at the iconic Salamanca Market, through our website as well as many cafes and restaurants around Tasmania and Australia. We specialise in loose-leaf tea varieties that support the health and enjoyment of our customers.