BCC Tea Club #1: Rooibos

Today I received a mysterious package from Peru, sender unknown. The customs seal had been broken and a note was appended from HM Revenue and Customs explaining that the contents had been inspected, a routine procedure for all brown boxes which arrive from the Amazon.

Clearly the sender was aware of my continued crusade against soda and of the spiritual benefits of a nice warm cuppa. Inside were a selection of Peruvian teas, all on the safe-side of Mormon kosher with nary a leaf of camellia sinensis in sight, black, green or otherwise.

And so begins BCC Tea Club. In future instalments I will review these mysterious teas from Peru. Meanwhile, I invite all to sample the delights of rooibos — or redbush — tea, a sweet, South African elixir which is extra tasty this time of year with a shot of mixed spice. In my house, 8pm is rooibos time, as Rebecca and I curl up in front of the telly with a steaming mug. Yum.

If you want to join the Tea Club, you might want to prepare for the next installment: Maca. Oh, and happy Christmas.


  1. As to the rooibos, I tried it sweet with milk but didn’t like it so much as without milk. A dash of sugar and spice is perfect.

  2. namakemono says:

    we go through vast quantities of cold rooibos tea in the humid summer here in Japan, but I have always drunk it straight; never added spices or anything.

  3. I raise my can of Diet Code Red Mountain Dew to your cuppa. And Merry Christmas to you.

  4. Milk and spice in my rooibos, please. I just bought some Tazo brand red tea with cinnamon and apple in it, Excellent stuff.

  5. I love tea!

    I like rooibos because they’ll use it as a base instead of black tea like a rooibos Earl Grey, which has orange or bergamot or something and rooibos Chai, spiced like chai but completely Mormon friendly!

    I recently opened a box of tea that had a graph of flavanoids and protective antioxidants in tea vs fruits and vegetables. And tea totally kicked their *sses, so I figure why eat vegetables when you can drink tea?!

  6. MikeInWeHo says:

    Oh this is wonderful! I drink tea every day. In fact, I’m sitting here with a lovely cup of English Breakfast even as I type this.

  7. From this far back it looks like lightly toasted maggots. I think that sounds gross.

  8. CJ Douglass says:

    I love rooibos mixed with yerba mate over ice….but rooibos chai is great this time of year…

    Looking forward to the Maca post…

  9. After imbibing a steady stream of mint and fruit teas on my mission, I chanced into some rooibos one day. It is decidedly very un-maggot-like and very delicious.

  10. As a former South African Missionary I can attest to the joys of Rooibos. Needs milk and sugar though. Best with rusks.

  11. Check out this quintessential Brit ode to tea. In rap form, but with a safari helmut :)

  12. ‘If you’re tired of tea, you’re tired of life.’

    that’s funny Nitsav!

    also, why do British people say the h on herbal? that’s so wrong in so many ways.

    update: in very tiny, tiny letters underneath the flavanoid graph, it reads: “tea is not a substitute for fruits and vegetables.”


  13. This is a bit of a revelation to me, I love herbal tea and had tisane most mornings on my mission but I had always steered clear of rooibos under the assumption that it is real tea. With this further light and knowledge I look forward to picking some up. If I understand the prior posts, it can be enjoyed either hot or cold, is that correct?

  14. I’m South African – grew up on rooibos tea and still drink it all the time. I can remember my sister-in-law making luke warm rooibos tea with lots of milk and giving it to her babies in a bottle! So yup, it’s a South African staple! Got to have it ‘plain’ though (with milk and sugar) – none of this mixing it with other stuff like orange or lemon! I think I’m off to make tea :)

  15. I am adding a plug for Karkaday hailing from Egypt and the Middle East. The ‘ahwas (coffee shops) of Cairo and most Middle Eastern cities have a wide assortment of Mormon-friendly hot and cold drinks. Karkaday (which sounds more boring in its English translation of Hibiscus tea, though I find it difficult to track down in US grocery stores) was always my favorite when served hot with a pinch of sugar. Many like it cold as well, but nothing better hot on a cold winter’s night, and it naturally comes in a festive Christmas hue.

  16. StillConfused says:

    Of what is the picture?

    The Maca installment sounds titillating — can’t wait for that.

  17. Coffinberry says:

    No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency… ‘nuf said.

  18. Thanks for this post. I look forward to the next one. I too have not tried Rooibos because I didn’t know if it was Mormon-friendly. I will certainly pick some up now. Here in sub-zero Montana, tea is a survival tool.

  19. Any coca leaf tea in the collection? I’m not sure if they’d let it past Customs, but it’s very common in the highlands of Peru.

  20. namakemono says:

    re#12 “also, why do British people say the h on herbal? that’s so wrong in so many ways”

    as a non-American, I could say the opposite – why do Anericans drop the H in herbal? that`s so wrong in so many ways LOL (plus without the H it always takes me a second or 2 to catch on to what they said – and no doubt you would say the same!)

    but then we can have endless fun with the differences between different Englishes (and I sure did at university with American and British friends) that has nothing to do with tea…

  21. namakemono says:

    sorry, “Anericans” should of course be “Americans” – no insult intended

  22. I really admire people who like tea. Like I admire people who enjoy jazz. Probably my biggest tell that I am Mormon is that I would take hot chocolate over any other hot beverage every time.

    namakemono–is rooibos mugicha?

  23. re#22 no, mugicha is different – its made from barley(??) – and is something that is downed in vast quantities by all Japanese in summer, LDS or not! However, LDS are the only Japanese who I have met who drink mugicha hot. Rooisbos tea is called the same in Japanese (ruibosuti-)

  24. ok, just checked to be sure – mugicha is “barley tea/infusion of parched barley” (mugi=barley, cha=tea)

    I have also heard rooisbos tea called “red bush tea” – is that right?

  25. oh boy, bad typing day! not “rooisbos”!!!

  26. rooibus (“roy-boss”) = redbush.

  27. Steve Evans says:

    Santa brought some Rooibos in Sumer’s stocking this morning. Yule tea.

  28. I’ve tried rooibos before, but not for ages; I need to give it another try.

    In Japan, I loved cold mugicha, and a little known hot tea-like beverage that was called tanpopo kohi, or dandelion coffee. It’s Mormon friendly and tastes pretty good with milk and sugar.

  29. I’ve run into a couple of people in the past couple of years who drink maté, which smells like a freshly trimmed lawn. =) Never heard of any of these, though. I grew up in the South, drinking Sweet Tea by the gallon. (You should see the size of the glass in which they serve this in a BBQ place.)

    I should try some of these exotic flavors out, see if I like any of them iced.

  30. We just got back from Argentina last week and ‘mate’ was everywhere down there. All the tourist shops sold mate-brewing sets. (I don’t know how to put an accent over the letter E, but I think it’s pronounced mah-tay.) I agree, FHL; it tastes like lawn trimmings…not unlike gin, but of course nobody here would know that. :)

  31. Yerba mate does indeed taste like lawn clippings. I’ve had two siblings serve missions in Argentina, and they brought mate back with them. We would all drink it hot and unsweetened (all from the same shared straw and gourd, of course). I got to like the bitter taste just fine.

    But in the last couple of years I’ve found more and more mate-based drinks at grocery stores around. They are mostly sweetened, spiced, and meant to be consumed cold. Very tasty. Maybe we need a full post devoted to this presumably Mormon-friendly(?) hot drink.

  32. CE,
    We’ll get to yerba mate anon.

  33. StillConfused says:

    I bought some red tea this weekend because it says that it has antioxidants and has no caffeine. Turns out it is the rooibas stuff. Haven’t tasted it yet though.

  34. james walker says:

    I love Rooibos tea! My wife and I have been drinking it
    daily for years now. I got sick of soda and gatorade literally rotting my teeth away, and the nasty corn syrup sweetners. It has been a great blessing and tastes delicous. My personal favorite is with mango and orange (I know, blasphemy to those real rooibos drinkers out there) it is good any way you drink it, blended, with milk, without, hot or cold. My favorite Rooibos is found at a web-site called
    “african red tea.com” They are from south africa, and give you a really good deal on bulk orders–

    take care –

    ps: not only is roobios caffeine free but very low in tannin as well!!

  35. James,
    That sucks, cos I love me some tannin.

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