Pick up a magazine or newspaper these days and it is likely to talk about tea - how to brew it, how to drink it and why you should drink it. More and more newspapers and magazines report on the benefits of black teas, green teas and herbal teas and how to brew them. The January 2002 issue of Food and Wine, in an issue devoted tosoothing foods, discusses the health benefits of black and green tea including how many cups you need to drink each day to get the benefits (Answer 3 - 10 cups). And why not consider tea - after all the most popular drink in the world. One tea in particular is catching interest these days - a South African specialty called Rooibos (Red Bush).

Rooibos is brewed from the leaves of the Aspalathus linearis, (pictured left) a plant found only in South Africa. Toward the end of the 18th century local populations of the Cape area discovered that the fine, needle-like leave of the aspalathus linearis made a tasty, aromatic tea. They began harvesting the wild-growing plants, chopping them with axes, bruising them with hammers, leaving them to ferment and drying them in the sun. Today the production process is commercialized and mechanized but otherwise basically unchanged. Rooibos contains no additives, preservatives, colorants or caffeine. It is low in tannin, rich in minerals, Vitamin C and anti oxidants and is said to relieve stomach and indigestion problems, colic in infants and, because it contains no caffeine, sooth the central nervous system. Rooibos is frequently blended with other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom as in the Mandela Masala Chai Tea, a Rooibos Chai that is caffeine free.

Brew Rooibos tea as you would any other herbal tea. Use one-tablespoon tea leaves per two cups of almost boiling water. Warm a teapot slightly with warm water. Add the tea leaves and then the boiling water. Steep for up to ten minutes. Rooibos does not turn bitter with longer steeping times.

Green Tea is also getting good press these days - and for good reason, the tea leaves are not allowed to oxidize (as they are in black teas), preserving more of the healthful antioxidants. offers Ceylon - Green tea as it goes better with fruit and sweets, especially the Apple Walnut Coffee Cake.

We also offer a Ceylon - Black, a tea well suited for afternoon tea with a splash of milk and also makes an excellent iced tea. Probably our most versatile tea - it pairs best with the Traditional Cinnamon Walnut Coffee Cake as well as the Downey's Irish Whiskey Cake.

You can read more about our gourmet tea offerings, our selected CoffeeCake and Tea Pairings and our Tea Pots, which all have infusers for simple and easy tea preparation.

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