Now, don’t ask me what the flavour of the tea was, because I seriously don’t know what rooibos are!!!! Wait, let me search for it…
Ahhhh!!! Now it makes sense
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rooibos (Afrikaans for ‘red bush’; pronounced /rɔɪbɔs/; scientific name Aspalathus linearis) is a member of the legume family of plants, and is commonly used to make a tisane (herbal tea). It belongs to the Aspalathus plant group, which consists of more than 200 species originating in the Cedarberg mountains of South Africa (rooibos grows exclusively in the Cedarberg Mountain region and around Clanwilliam and Citrusdal, due to the specific climatic and geological conditions of the region).
It grows erect, up to 1.5 m (about 5 feet) in height. It has a single basal stem that divides just above the ground surface into multiple thin branches that carry bright green, needle-like leaves of about 10—40 mm (0.4—1.6 inches) in length. The plant produces small yellow flowers in spring through early summer, and each flower generates a one-seeded leguminous fruit. Rooibos has adapted to coarse, nutrient-poor, acidic soil and hot, dry summers. In addition to differences in morphology and genetics, researchers have found differences in chemistry between various populations of A. linearis. Van Wyk, of the Department of Botany at Rand Afrikaans University, presented results of his tests on the different wild populations of rooibos, showing significant variations in the polyphenol profile by population.
Rooibos is graded according to color, flavor, and cut length, with the highest grade labeled "supergrade." The tea has a smooth, non-bitter flavor that is pleasant hot or chilled. The unfermented variety has a very mild "green" taste reminiscent of green tea but without the astringency; the fermented type is quite different, with a stronger sweet and fruity taste. The mild flavor of rooibos has made it popular in multi-ingredient herbal tea blends.
Rooibos is often marketed as red tea. It is then boiled or steeped like tea to make a beverage that is enjoyed both hot and cold. In its native South Africa, many people consume it with milk, similar to the British tradition of drinking black tea with milk. Rooibos tea should be steeped or brewed with boiling water for a minimum of 5 minutes to release the flavor and the valuable antioxidants and minerals. Experts suggest that brewing Rooibos for 10 minutes or longer will increase the antioxidant content of the tea by 30%. After this, the tea can be used immediately or stored.
Antioxidants & Flavonoids found in Rooibos
Some antioxidants are called polyphenols because these substances contain a phenolic ring in their chemical structure. Polyphenols are common in plants; they act as pigments and sunscreens, as insect attractants and repellants, and as antimicrobials and antioxidants. The polyphenol group is further divided into subgroups such as flavonoids and phenolic acids. As described in this section, laboratory studies have found that rooibos tea contains polyphenol antioxidants, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, that are potent free radical scavengers.
The polyphenol antioxidants identified in rooibos tea include the monomeric flavonoids aspalathin, nothofagin, quercetin, rutin, isoquercitrin, orientin, isoorientin, luteolin, vitexin, isovitexin, and chrysoeriol. Currently, rooibos is the only known natural source of aspalathin. Nothofagin is similar in structure to aspalathin and has only been identified in one other natural source besides rooibos: the heartwood of the red beech tree (Nothofagus fusca (Hook F.) Oerst, Nothofagaceae), which is native to New Zealand.
A recent analysis of fermented rooibos measured the levels of all the flavonoids listed above except nothofagin. Of the 10 flavonoids measured, the three that occurred in largest amounts were aspalathin, rutin, and orientin, followed by isoorientin and isoquercitrin. Fermented rooibos contains less aspalathin and nothofagin than unfermented rooibos because fermentation causes these polyphenols to diminish in the process. The change in polyphenol composition is the reason the tea changes color with fermentation.
etc etc etc…if you want to know more about this, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooibos
and if you want to know about Twinings (and also the history of tea, how to stay healthy, etc etc) go to http://www.twinings.com/