Like Bengal Spice, the box for Madagascar Vanilla Red has a big cat on the front. This one is a more fanciful picture of a lion taking a break from pursuing zebras to enjoy a cup of tea.

Madagascar Vanilla Red contains Rooibos, which is what prompted me to buy it. Though I didn’t want to admit it, I was curious about the stuff. Being out here in the sticks, I tend to make fun of the latest thing from the coasts. It‘s kind of a pre-emptive move since those who live there get to try anything trendy (which is usually available there first). Then, when they prattle on about it and people from the middle of the country don’t know what they’re talking about, they sneer at the ignorant hillbillies and our backward ways. Pardon us if we get a little defensive.

So I’d been rolling my eyes for a month while my Facebook friends in CA posted about all the rooibos blends they were sampling. “Well hoity toity,” I muttered. “How do you pronounce it anyway?”

It’s Roy boss, but by the time I had the box with it’s pronunciation guide, I was already mangling it my own way. This is a common form of entertainment in my family. I called it Rue ee booze. Then I was told that my nephew in St Louis was pronouncing it like the half giant’s name in Harry Potter, Rubeus. I have since adopted this practice. Yeah, I know how it’s SUPPOSED to be pronounced, but being an Arkansan and doomed to be perceived as a backward hillbilly no matter how edjumacated I become, I might as well have a little fun mispronouncing it.

Rooibos is to me a sort of African answer to sassafras. I’m not saying it tastes like sassafras, but it has a kind of unique sweetness that parallels it in my mind. It is fun to try different blends to see what goes with it, now that it’s available here.

I was kind of ho hum about this tea at first because it has no caffeine and seemed a bit boring, but it has grown on me. I like the vanilla and enjoy this hot or cold, plain or as a dessert tea with sweetener and coconut milk. Madagascar Vanilla Red has become like a dear friend. I‘ve developed fond regards for this tea, very much like those I have for the character I like to pretend this tea’s ingredient is named for. It may not be the most exciting thing in my cupboard, but it has a welcome place there. Sometimes the warm and familiar are just what I need.

Terri HarpLady

Nice review!
Everyone at my house calls it Rubeus, thanks to Leif’s pronunciation of it so. I love Hagred, & I like the way Rubeus sounds, & I’ve never been satisfied with Royboss, even if that is the proper pronunciation.

gmathis

As a fellow almost-Ozarkian, you pronounce it the way you want to, friend! Love the lion on the box. Fond and familiar tea is a wonderful thing.

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Terri HarpLady

Nice review!
Everyone at my house calls it Rubeus, thanks to Leif’s pronunciation of it so. I love Hagred, & I like the way Rubeus sounds, & I’ve never been satisfied with Royboss, even if that is the proper pronunciation.

gmathis

As a fellow almost-Ozarkian, you pronounce it the way you want to, friend! Love the lion on the box. Fond and familiar tea is a wonderful thing.

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I write stories, entertain kids with various clown skills and play the harp.

Oh, and I drink tea. Well of course I do. Why else would I be hanging around here?

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