10 Best Rooibos Tea: Reviews & Buying Guide
For all the fans of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there’s no way you can have missed the excitement around the latest herb to hit the influencers’ posts: Rooibos tea.
Pronounced “Roy-boss”, this tea is made from a plant called Aspalathus Linearis, more commonly known as “red bush”. The rooibos herb is endemic to Cederburg, a small, mountainous area in the Western Cape of South Africa.
But while South Africans have been enjoying this tea for decades, it is only in the last few years that it has been growing in popularity in the northern hemisphere.
So what is rooibos tea, and what makes it so popular?
Unlike traditional tea, which comes from tea leaves, rooibos tea is a herbal tea. This means that it is more similar to chamomile, mint, or hibiscus tea. It undergoes an oxidization process which enriches its flavour and turns it into a distinctive red-brown colour.
But although its mild and slightly earthy taste makes it a solid choice for many tea drinkers, it is the health benefits of rooibos tea that make it so popular.
Rooibos tea is caffeine-free and naturally sweet, so you don’t need to add sugar or worry about getting the shakes from over-doing your daily caffeine intake. Plus it means that you can have a warm mug in the evening, without worrying about it damaging your chances of sleep.
It’s also super-full of vitamin C and antioxidants, which help to repair tissues and cell damage.
Needless to say, with so many benefits to hand, rooibos tea companies have been springing up all over the world. So how do you know which to try?
Well, whether you are looking for the richest taste, the best health benefits, or the most authentically South African experience, we’ve got you covered. Take a look below at our ten favourite rooibos teas so you can decide which are the best for you.
10 Best Rooibos Tea (2022 Update)
1. Cederberg Tea Company: Organic Rooibos Red Tea
We’re going to kick off the list with the organic tea option from the clean-living, and nature-friendly company, Cederberg Tea Company. Priding themselves on their fresh, herbal teas, the brand only use fresh, pure organic, or sustainably wild harvested ingredients.
Plus they are always careful of their impact on the environment, so all the teas arrive in boxes made from 100% recycled materials, and they only use bleach-free tea bags to eliminate the risk of chemicals.
This is great as it means that you know that your purchasing decisions aren’t causing more damage to the environment.
Their rooibos red tea is high in vitamin C, caffeine free, as well as being rich in manganese, calcium and fluoride. It is a simple tea to enjoy, coming in tea bags which just need to be seeped for 3-6 minutes to draw out the natural and rich flavour.
It’s an easy option for being environmentally friendly while you stay healthy.
About the tea:
- Served in 100 tea bags per box
- Wild-harvested or organic ingredients
- 100% recycled materials
- No additives
- Lab-tested for moisture and bulk density
- Its high-phenolic count isn’t suitable for people with phenolic sensitivities
2. Celestial Seasonings- African Red Herbal Tea, Rooibos Madagascar Vanilla
If you are looking for a cheap and sweet option of rooibos tea then Celestial Seasonings’ African Red Herbal Tea is the option for you. Flavoured with vanilla, and without any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, this option is a little sweeter than some of our options, which should help you to not add sugar yourself.
Celestial Seasonings uses the finest herbs they can find to provide the perfect mug to help you unwind at the end of the day, especially as it is caffeine-free. They are also doing their bit for the environment by providing stringless tea bags and packaging them in recycled boxes.
Perhaps the biggest selling point for this brand of rooibos tea is the quantity you get. They provide six boxes, each with twenty tea bags inside. So you’ll never run-out and have to go without your nightly mug of rooibos tea.
About the tea:
- 20 stringless tea bags in each of the 6 boxes
- Caffeine free
- No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives
- Large quantities available
- Cheaper than many options
- The vanilla flavour is not optional
3. Twinings of London- Organic Rooibos Tea Bags
For the most traditional tea experience, Twinings of London is your choice, no doubt about it. The company is London’s longest-standing ratepayer, having been in the same spot on the Strand since 1706. It’s also the oldest continually-used company logo in the world. So if anyone knows what they’re doing with tea, it will be them.
Twinings of London have been careful to be fair trade certified, so that they can guarantee safe working conditions and that fair wages are being paid to their farmers. Given the nature of their company, it’s no wonder that they are working towards improving tea sustainability, making them a great choice for people making a conscious purchasing decision.
They describe their rooibos tea as fresh, woody and earthy, with no added caffeine or sweetners. Plus each tea bag is foil sealed to keep it fresh for a long time.
About the tea:
- 20 individually wrapped tea bags
- Fair Trade certified
- Natural antioxidants
- Individually wrapped tea bags for freshness
- Although they keep the tea fresh, individually wrapping the tea bags produces more waste
4. Traditional Medicinals- Organic Reishi Mushroom with Rooibos and Organic Peel Tea
Maybe you’ve tried rooibos tea before, but now you are looking for a wackier drink. Or maybe you want to cram even more health benefits into your daily routine. Either way this tea by Traditional Medicinals fits the bill.
Steering clear of the traditional tea leaves, this tea is made from organic reishi mushrooms, or as they are known in Asia, “the mushroom of immortality”. This company swears by their health benefits, and they’re not the only ones. The reviews of this product claim everything from helping people with hypothyroidism to helping to get a good night’s sleep.
The orange peel flavouring gives it a taste of citrus, while the rooibos adds earthy undertones and more healthy antioxidants.
Maybe it’s a bit out there, or maybe it’s just what you need. Who knows, this could be the next big health trend.
About the tea:
- 6 boxes of 16 sealed tea bags
- Mushroom base
- Orange-peel flavour
- Non-GMO verified
- The health benefits that it claims haven’t yet been evaluated by the FDA, so you could find yourself drinking mushrooms for no reason
5. Rooibos Rocks- Natural South African Red Tea
Rooibos Rocks are very clear in their name about how great their rooibos tea product is, and they’re not wrong. It’s organic, with unbleached tea bags and no artificial colours, preservatives or additives. Plus it’s sustainably and ethically farmed to support local tea growing communities.
As a caffeine-free drink, they emphasise that it can be enjoyed in the day or at night. It won’t keep you up, but it might help you to relax in the evening. They also suggest that it can be served in a hot mug, or in a cold glass to cool you down in hot weather.
Rooibos Rocks was inspired by a couple who were on honeymoon in South Africa and fell in love with both the country and the rooibos drink. Their aim is to bring the South African spirit to their customers, and the funky packaging does just that. Its bright yellow and red theme certainly stands out, and who doesn’t love seeing hugging zebras when reaching for their morning cuppa?
About the tea:
- Box of 100 tagless tea bags, sealed in 5 separate pouches
- Unbleached tea bags
- Sustainably and ethically farmed
- Zero calories (their claim not ours!)
- Extra waste by using the 5 pouches
6. My Red Tea- Organic Rooibos Tea
My Red Tea is a company run by a South African mom living in California, who grew up with rooibos as a daily cure, so you can be sure that the company knows what they’re doing when it comes to rooibos tea. In fact, they make sure to select their rooibos herbs only from the higher mountains; the more rugged conditions give the herb a denser concentration of flavour, as well as more of the healthy stuff.
My Red Tea looks after its consumers by keeping it organic and natural, with no added preservatives, colorants or artificial ingredientes. Plus they make sure that no products are ever tested on animals.
They also donate 10% of their profits to support education in the local rooibos farming communities. Of course, given their sustainable outlook, My Red Tea makes sure that their packaging, which comes in the form of a beautiful and unique purple and yellow-themed box, is environmentally responsible and that the tea bags are unbleached too.
About the tea:
- Box of 80 tea stringless bags
- South African founder
- Beautiful packaging
- Donate 10% of their profits to local rooibos farming communities
- The packaging is environmentally responsible but doesn’t seem to be made of recycled materials
7. Freshpak- Rooibos Tea
Freshpak is a South African brand of rooibos tea, so if you want the real deal (or as close as you can get while still being in your slippers in the kitchen), this is the one for you. The branding is clear, and maybe a little aged, but it is also a more authentic option than the other brands on the list.
Freshpak has cut down on the amount of packaging that is required, by providing two giant packs, each with 80 tagless tea bags inside. Some people have suggested that unless you drink a lot of rooibos, the tea bags lose a bit of their freshness by coming in such a big packet. It also means that you can end up with quite a lot of tea dust on the counter.
However, if you want value for money then this is the best option. Not only do you get more tea bags, but they also work out as being a lot cheaper than a lot of the other options.
About the tea:
- 2 packs of 80 tea bags
- South African brand
- Large quantity of tea bags
- Less fresh and less strength of flavour from the big box size
8. Bigelow Tea- Organic Dandelion and Peach with Rooibos and Green Tea
If you are after the health benefits of rooibos, but don’t enjoy the earthy taste so much, then this tea could suit you perfectly. The sweetness of the peach makes this a far sweeter tea than the other options. While it is still organic, non-GMO verified, gluten-free and kosher, this tea has a base of dandelion leaves which make it a bit different.
The main difference between this tea and our other options is that it does actually have caffeine in it, although less than most teas. So if you are looking for the health benefits of rooibos, but aren’t ready to give up your morning caffeine-fix, give this one a try.
Blended and packaged in the USA, Bigelow Tea is still 100% family owned. It has been going strong since 1945, and these days it is known as the number one specialty tea company in the United States. By now you can expect that they know what they’re doing.
About the tea:
- 6 packs of 20 individually-wrapped tea bags
- Sweeter option if you aren’t a fan of the rooibos taste
- The rooibos is less present than in the other options
9. Yogi Tea- Chai Rooibos
This Yogi Tea is another rooibos option that gives a bit of a twist if you’re after a new taste. It blends the earthy rooibos herb with the blend of the Ayurvedic chai; cardamom, cinnamon and clove. Together this creates a spicy warmth for the drink.
As it is still caffeine free, it can work as a night time relaxer, or a warming tea to get you through the day.
The chai flavour is strong, making this a smoother and creamier rooibos tea option than a lot of the others. While the tea bag tags have little meditations on them, to help you with having a relaxing day.
About the tea:
- 16 tea bags in the box
- Rooibos mixed with the ayurvedic chai blend of cardamom, cinnamon and clove
- Spicy warmth to the taste
- Smaller portion for if you’re not sure
- If you wanted a pure rooibos taste, or don’t like chai, then this one will be a disappointment for you
10. Laager- Rooibos Tea
For our final option, we have another South African brand of rooibos tea from the company Laager. They provide a stronger taste than the other brands, so if you are a rooibos fan, this is the one that will quench your thirst. Plus you can feel good knowing that you are having it the way it is meant to be tried.
You can tell they know what they’re doing because they have even suggested that you use the rooibos tea to make your own, home-made, healthy and delicious, rooibos tea fruit popsicles. Or if that’s too much effort, maybe just a batch of rooibos iced-tea for the afternoon. As it’s caffeine-free, you don’t have to worry about it affecting your sleep.
About the tea:
- Box of 80 tea bags
- Directly from South Africa
- Stronger taste
- Fun ideas for popsicles
- While the packaging is recyclable, it is not made from recycled material
What to consider when buying your next box of rooibos tea
Individually wrapped or in a box?
These days most of us are trying our best to look after the environment, and for that reason it could be better to purchase a box of tea bags with less packaging. However, if you don’t drink tea so often, or if you are looking for the freshest taste, the fewer tea bags in each wrapping the better.
Plain or mixed taste?
As we have discussed, drinkers of rooibos tea can’t say enough about the health benefits it brings. However, not everyone enjoys its taste. For some people, getting a mixed blend might be the best way to reap the benefits while enjoying the drink.
However, for others the additional sweetening tastes could ruin the natural and original taste of the rooibos tea.
Is it better to buy a South African brand?
The rooibos herb comes from the South Western Cape region of South Africa, so some people might feel that the most authentic experience is to buy rooibos tea directly from a South African brand.
But a lot of the American brands are involved in projects to help the local communities, and being treated in America also reduces its carbon footprint.
Is it better to buy more?
There is quite a big variation in price for the different rooibos teas, but that mostly comes down to the size of the order that you go for. It is possible to buy a box of 160 tea bags, which is perfect for people who know that they enjoy it, and who drink a lot of cups of rooibos tea regularly.
However, if rooibos is a new tea that you are trying out, it could be better to start with a smaller portion for your first order. Then if you love it, you can always move up to the bigger portions once you’re sure.
Rooibos tea drinkers are convinced of the health benefits that the South African herb brings to their lives, so it definitely seems like it’s worth finding the right option for you.
Most of the options are organic, non-GMO, kosher and caffeine-free. But once you start looking at the companies, they have quite varied backgrounds, so it’s worth checking which one you want to try.
Some of the brands emphasize that they are better served warm as a relaxing drink in the evening, while others highlight having a chilled drink of iced rooibos tea.
Or maybe the best thing to do is to try a couple of different ones so that you can find the best blend for you.