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I discovered that I was allergic to caffiene 8 years ago, and although my first concern was that I couldn't eat chocolate anymore, I quickly found that I missed tea and coffee much more.
I drank fruit teas instead for several years, but although they tasted great, they never quite hit the spot that a lovely cup of tea used to. I also ran into the regular problem that not many of my friends were able to cater for the weirdo who didn't drink tea or coffee. Eventually when I refused another cup of hot blackcurrent, one of my friends dragged out a dusty box from the back of the cupboard and offered me a cup of black Rooibos tea. I have to admit, I did spit it out, it was so disgusting, but it was from a different company, and well past its sell by date.
A little later I was sent a free sample of tea from the Redbush Tea Company. If I remember correctly the free sample didn't actually mention "rooibos", otherwise I would have thrown it away in disgust. I gave it a go and discovered that it really seemed to hit the tea spot. To be honest, this was several years after I drank my last cup of "real" tea, so I can't really make the comparison between the taste of tea and redbush, but for me it is the closest to tea that I have found.
Redbush tea comes in boxes of either 40 or 80. The boxes are red with white writing and have stacks of brightly coloured cups on the corners. The redbush history, instructions and general information is all printed on the sides of the boxes, which makes it a bit wordy. I buy mine from the supermarket, at about £1.70 for forty and £3.15 for eighty. I have noticed though, that the supermarkets close to where I live seem to have stopped stocking redbush; I don't know if this is a national phonomena. Inside the teabags are not individually wrapped like most herbal teas, and they look like ordinary square tea bags.
The box tells you that you can drink the tea "red", with lemon or with milk, just like normal tea. I drink mine very strong with a tiny bit of milk, although I can drink it without milk, something I could never do with ordinary tea. The box says that it has a nutty flavour, but I haven't noticed it - I find it very smooth with a slightly sweet flavour.
Redbush has the benefits of having no caffeine, no preservatives or additives and lower tannin than regular tea. I also receive "Redbush News" through the post, and it suggests that redbush is also very good in the bath for excema, and is helpful for digestive problems. It also outlines the good works that the Redbush Tea Company don in South Africa, where redbush grows. However, I have tried to find out whether the company is Fair Trade, with no success. All I can say is that it doesn't carry the FairTrade Mark, but I haven't found a company sells redbush tea that does.
I find Redbush Tea very refreshing and now drink it every day, whenever I would have had a cup of tea. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to cut down on caffeine, and it is worth persevering with. Redbush is an aquired taste, but it is a healthy, tasty alternative to tea.