Oh sweet Rooibos, it's not you, it's me!
July 27, 2008 2:52 PM   Subscribe

Rooibos Tea (Redbush Tea). Slightly tired of drinking it at the moment but apparently stopping is not going to be a satisfactory option. Is there any reason I can't just rip open a teabag and eat it? (Provided I sift it for sticks and bark and stuff first?) Or does the hot water play a part in releasing all of that Rooibos-ey goodness? But then, again... couldn't I just eat a teaspoon of leaf sludge?

I leave the teabag in (which gets mashed to the side about halfway through, I hate crusty teabags on the bottom) and it's usually cold by the time I drink it. So I was thinking half a teabag? Or is there a way to calculate it? I'm really doubtful but is there a possibility of it making me feel anything like I've eaten a bunch of Soldier Crabs (??) (If so, my tummy's not delicate so would Slippery Elm or something probably take care of that risk?) There are the above unknowns.. but have I overlooked anything? Does anything about this plan, to skip the tea part and just eat it, horrify you or strike you as quite alarming?? Thank-you (perhaps most gratefully - and definitely in advance) :)
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har to Food & Drink (15 answers total)
Horrifies me because I think it would taste rotten! Never tried it though so maybe it would be nice to chew/suck on.

Chewing it should release the same goodness, probably more so if you eat it as you aren't throwing any of it away after a brew.

posted by twistedonion at 3:00 PM on July 27, 2008

Just thought - if drinking it is just too much hassle why not brew a really concentrated shot? Just a teabag (try getting fresh loose rooibos if you can, much better imo) in a small amount of hot water. Let it steep for a good long time, squeeze out and knock back, might be really bitter though.
posted by twistedonion at 3:03 PM on July 27, 2008

I wonder if it would work to do a cold press of Rooibos like how they do that less-acidic coffee where the water is diffused in coffee overnight to make it highly concentrated. If you could do it and create a concentrate that you could then strain the particulate out of with a piece of cheesecloth and then heat, sweeten with something like apple juice or cane syrup and drink. Worth a shot.
posted by parmanparman at 3:08 PM on July 27, 2008

Why not cook with it?
[note: I haven't really vetted those links, but the seem ok]

I'm sure you can find Chinese and Japanese recipes for cooking with tea on www.epicurious.com and other such sites. Alternatively, you can make chai with it instead of with traditional black tea. I'm sure the milk and spices will give your rooibos a new twist.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 3:13 PM on July 27, 2008

I have a similar problem. I put in the bag of tea and then forget about it and then ugh...

Lately I usually brew a week's worth in a teapot, pour it into a big jar, and stick it in the fridge. Voila! Iced tea!
posted by melissam at 3:17 PM on July 27, 2008

twistedonion: I've had rooibos brewed in an espresso machine. It was particularly horrid, although I don't really enjoy it to begin with.
posted by skwm at 3:44 PM on July 27, 2008

whod've thunk it! I was going to mention an espresso machine but reasoned that it wouldn't infuse with the same strength as steeping for a long period (because the grinds don't really look consistent I'd have thought it would be like trying to make an espresso with coarse ground beans, far too weak).
posted by twistedonion at 3:55 PM on July 27, 2008

sorry skwm, should've read your link, they grind it sor you. Interesting idea but as you say, pretty horrid - a good espresso isn't bitter but I just couldn't see rooibos being pleasant that concentrated.

I'm sure it would beat munching it though mu~ha~ha~ha~har
posted by twistedonion at 4:00 PM on July 27, 2008

I'm not sure how the flavors would work, but I've seen tea used in these recipes:
Tea rubbed salmon made with a chile-tea rub (Ming Tsai) and Earl grey tea cookies (Martha Stewart). Both recipes leave room for experimentation, but are unfortunately made with black tea so I don't know how it would turn out with something like rooibos. Also, I've always wanted to try making tea eggs.
posted by belau at 4:42 PM on July 27, 2008

Rooibos is a natural laxative (mild and this may be more of grandma lore than science)

The heat of the water also releases a great deal more flavor than that of saliva. Think 212' vs. 98'

But no harm in eating it aside from that possibility.

And the idea that the tiny leaves may not be pleasant in your mouth. (rooibos is ground very finely).

(IANAgrandma but I am south african, for the record)
posted by bradly at 4:46 PM on July 27, 2008

FWIW, Rooibos makes great sun tea. Not sure why, but sun tea always tastes better to me than regularly brewed tea. Get a big ol' glass jar and find a sunny spot outside. Toss it in the fridge after a few hours.
posted by jquinby at 5:59 PM on July 27, 2008

People make weed brownies - could you make tea brownies?
posted by mrbill at 6:00 PM on July 27, 2008

How are you drinking your rooibos? (Apart from cold, I mean.)

You can use it to make iced tea of course. I use mine as if it were normal tea/coffee.... i.e. I put milk in it and drink it at breakfast. If you add milk to it, you can drink it straight away.. instead of waiting for it to cool down. Is it that you're walking away from it waiting for it to cool, and forgetting about it?

Just a thought.

Rooibos has been my best friend for the years of pregnancy and breastfeeding of my past, present and future. Now ToddlerTaff drinks it with gusto. With milk added... I won't allow her normal tea because of the caffeine.

Good luck with it all. If you feel like elaborating, I'm really curious as to why you HAVE to continue consuming it... but understand if you'd rather not say.
posted by taff at 8:00 PM on July 27, 2008

That's funny, one of the main reasons I like red (rooibos) tea* is because of the fact that it doesn't get bitter when you leave it in forever like other teas do.

*I drink Good Hope Vanilla from The Republic of Teas.
posted by umbú at 9:13 PM on July 27, 2008

Response by poster: I let it sit for about 5 minutes then I add a dash of milk. Or it can be anywhere between that and stone cold ('cause yeah, it does still taste good) and then I add the milk. Or sometimes I just skip the milk. No sugar. I like the taste of it. It's like plain and interesting at the same time... with a hint of teabag. Yes.. the first thing I'll do is get some nicer stuff!

I am liking these ideas people. Because I'm a curious person - it's ok to chew, it swells and clumps together. The taste is ok to tollerable. Strong and then very quickly mellows out to something kind.. creamy. I think it might actually be something good to cook with (rather than something I'm just trying to slip in there).

It definitely has potential. I'll be working my way through the list, thank-you very much guys!!
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 8:30 AM on July 28, 2008

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