The exotic rooibos tea

I’m not one to cook with strange foods like “spelt flour,” “alfalfa sprouts,” or “spirulina.” I think if its not in the vocabulary of an 8-year-old, its probably not needed. Also, in Paris it’s difficult to even find kale. There is one thing, however, I really enjoy that could be considered somewhat ‘exotic:’ rooibos tea. I drink it all year round, but now that it is getting colder out I am up to two or three cups per day.

Well, I guess it’s not so exotic… it has probably reached the equivalent status of tofu in the 1980s and it is even served from the Russian Tea Room in New York all the way to your local Starbucks. (Actually, Starbucks’ Vanilla Rooibos Tea is the only reason I go there.)

The name comes from the Dutch-based South African language Afrikanns and literally means “red bush.” Even today the tea is still only grown in South Africa and supposedly has a variety of health benefits. Personally, I drink it because it does not inhibit iron absorption like black and even green tea. Also, there is no caffeine (which could be viewed as a benefit or a drawback).

My favorite place to purchase the tea in Paris is “Le Palais des Thés,” which conveniently has locations in the 3rd, 6th, 14th, 16th and 17th arrondissement of Paris. I have only been to the shop in the 3rd arrondissement and have always found the staff to be friendly and helpful. They have a wide variety of teas from all over the world, so if you decide rooibos isn’t your thing, I’m sure you will find something you love!


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