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Rooibos tea, also known as Red Tea comes from an evergreen shrub native to South Africa. It is harvested, oxidized and even steeped very much like black tea, but unlike black tea, contains no caffeine.
teapot or cup**
infuser basket or tea ball
teaspoon measuring spoon
fresh, clean water
quality loose tea
How much tea/how much water:
1 teaspoon of loose tea per 8 ounces of water, more or less if you prefer
1. Take a deep breath, and put aside the day's cares for a few minutes. This time is for you.
2. Put water in the teakettle and bring to a boil.
3. While the water is heating, measure out the loose tea and place into a tea ball or infuser basket* that is large enough to allow the tea to expand, and set the infuser into the teapot or cup.
4. Pour the freshly boiled water over the loose tea, being careful not to overflow the teapot or cup.
5. Allow to steep with the lid on (if using an infuser basket, use its lid rather than the teapot's lid, which won't sit safely over the infuser), for 3-7 minutes. Since Rooibos is very low in tannins, there's no risk of bitterness from over-steeping.
6. Remove the tea leaves from the cup/pot.
7. Pour the tea into your cup (unless it's already in your cup).
8. Add sugar, honey, Stevia, artificial sweeteners (if you really must) and milk to taste. I like to use Turbinado sugar in my tea.
9. Allow to cool to the temperature you prefer, and then sit down, relax and sip slowly.
*I prefer to use an infuser basket so that I can remove the tea leaves easily once the steeping time is up. It is much easier to use and clean than a tea ball in my experience, and the infusers that I sell come with a lid/drip cup to set the basket on when it is removed from the teapot. No dripping on the counter. I have infuser baskets that are nearly ten years old, and have endured daily use and countless trips through the dishwasher. They are still in perfect working order.
**There's no reason you couldn't steep your tea directly in your cup or insulated travel mug. That is what I do 99% of the time. Tea balls and the smaller infuser baskets will fit in most cups and travel mugs (with the notable exception of my insulated Klean Kanteen) and you won't have to wash the teapot later.