Can I get some help with my rooibos? It's going bitter on me!
Now I know that everyone says it doesn’t go bitter, but this one is. It’s Teavana’s Peach Bloom Rooibos. I steep it for 5 minutes using almost rolling boil water. It always ends up with a heavy tannin bitter taste. I really like Celestial’s Madagascar Vanilla Rooibos, so I don’t know why this one is turning out like this. Any tips? Thanks!
I am not sure plain red rooibos can go bitter, I mean its taste can vary according to quality, but you can usually brew it as hot and long as you like and it can became only more “rooibos-ish”. Since your tea is a blend maybe it´s something else in there – and I would suspect the culprit to be hibiscus.
Any chance there is hibiscus on the blend? I am asking this because I personally find hibiscus always bitter, and also because I recently tried a Teavana “rooibos” which tasted predominantly of hibiscus (and not rooibos) to me.
I do not know about this specific blend, but I the blend I received in a swap was Teavana, Cinna-Zen Tang I think it was called. I could not find the total ingredients list (something which would be mandatory my part of the world, grrrr) and none of Teavana´s publicity description mentioned hibiscus, but I am pretty sure that that it had hibiscus.
How does the tea brew? Rooibos brews red but sort of orangey-brown red. If it has hibiscus, even just a bit the red will be sort of pinkish. For example if you leave the cup in the sink overnight for example, tea which has hibiscus leaves a pink-pink residue on the cup, while rooibos leaves an orangey one. In my case that Teavana “rooibos” I had (and it did have some rooibos) pretty much behaved like a hibiscus tea, pink residue and all. Also if you got enough to inspect the dry tea, hibiscus leaves are usually used whole,y longish and sort of brown-purple, they are sort of distinctive.
Some dried fruits use sulphite as a preservative. This can make the tea bitter too. We always try to use freeze-dried or otherwise sulphite-free fruit pieces when we can.