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!

3 Replies
cteresa said

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.

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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.

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I agree with 52teas most likely it is the peach (fruit) in the tea that it making it bitter. Have you tried steeping it less time or less hot or both? It might cut down on the bitterness.

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