This morning holds the promise of a warmer day as the sun streams through my windows and illuminates my space. I reach for my tea things and realize that I haven’t shared an herbal with you in a very long time.
So, without any further ado, meet Rooibos Vanilla, my herbal choice for this morning.
This particular rooibos is flavored with Bourbon vanilla. Vanilla flavoring is derived from the vanilla orchid, a flowering, climbing vine species from the orchid family. The trumpet shaped, creamy flower has a sweet scent, opening in the morning and closing in the late afternoon. In its natural habitat, the flowers are pollinated by a variety of stingless bees called Melipona as well as certain hummingbirds. Most commercially grown vanilla is pollinated by hand.
Here’s an illustration of the Vanilla Planifola, a species of vanilla orchid, from Kohler’s Medicinal plants.
Spooning 2 teaspoons in my glass teapot’s infuser basket, I steeped my rooibos for 8 minutes using boiling point (212 F) water. The deep russet colored leaf infuses to create a rich, deep amber liquor.
Besides being flavored with vanilla, there are pieces of vanilla pod sprinkled in with the leaf.
South African Rooibos is a bush grown in the Cedarberg mountain region of South Africa. The leaves are harvested and processed much like the tea plant, creating both “green” and “red” Rooibos. The Afrikaans word Rooibos means “red bush”. When the leaves are allowed to oxidize (similar to black tea), they turn a beautiful reddish brown.
Some people think of vanilla as a rather bland flavor as in it is the most boring ice cream flavor there is. Not me. I experience it as a sweet, uplifting spice that can take your senses and your imagination to lush, exotic places perfumed with lovely, delicate orchids.
The sweet vanilla combines with the hint of citrus in the Rooibos to create a pleasant melding of aroma and taste. When you’re looking for a late afternoon or evening caffeine-free respite, this is the perfect choice. I drink it plain but it would stand up well to any additions like milk and sweetener. You can ice it, too.
I’ve been in my new place for 3 weeks now and am trying to find and gather all of the threads that I had dropped during the moving process, namely, my Taos free range knitted wrap. I would love to finally finish it and wear it! So, look for some “ta-da” moments coming, hopefully, soon.
“In my life’s chain of events nothing was accidental. Everything happened according to an inner need.” ~Hannah Senesh