Rooibos and chamomile. Picture: Supplied
Rooibos and chamomile. Picture: Supplied

A guide to the best teas for spring

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Oct 5, 2021

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Spring is finally here and everything is blooming while the weather is perfect. It is the favourite time of the year for many people because it is so nice out and nature is waking up from the long winter.

At this time of year, we start noticing more vibrancy in our fruits and vegetables. We see our gardens come back to life, and we start to shy away from the warming, comforting and hearty meals we turned to in the colder months, replacing soups and stews with fresh salads, and lighter dishes. Just as our eating preferences change subtly with the seasons, what we feel like drinking changes too.

You have probably drunk a lot of tea during the winter to help you fight colds and flu, but that’s finally over and your tea selection can change. While the true tea connoisseur will drink tea all year round, you may find yourself reaching for something lighter and fresher than the black teas you likely turned to during winter.

Light and floral-herbal teas are the best for springtime, not only because they taste good, but also because some of them can help with allergies that most people experience during this time of year.

The benefits of drinking tea in spring

In the world of tea, spring is the time of year when freshly picked tea becomes available. Health experts reveal that drinking tea during spring helps boost your circulation. They say after a less active winter, it’s crucial to get your blood pumping and your circulation strong during spring, and drinking tea that is beneficial to the stomach can do wonders to help your circulation.

Another tea benefit would be that it wakes you up after the winter. Winter can be a draining season, and it often leaves people feeling sluggish and without strength. Spring then comes around, giving new life and renewed energy, so the caffeine and rich character of tea can make you feel revitalised.

That said, this is why we have decided to compile a list of perfect teas to drink in spring that will certainly strike your fancy.

Jasmine Pearls

Jasmine tea is one of the most famous teas in the world. Whether made hot or cold, the tea’s signature floral aroma makes it a great choice to drink all year.

It is made by infusing the tea leaves with the scent of jasmine blossoms, which results in a sweet and smooth taste. This spring season, you can try making yourself a cold brew, as it is the most reliable way to get the best flavour out of your iced tea.

How, you will ask? It is quite simple, all you have to do is put jasmine tea and cool or room temperature water in a glass container, cover and put it in the refrigerator for six hours, strain tea leaves, and pour tea into a cup with ice.

Honeybush tea

Honeybush tea is named for the mildly sweet, honey-like aroma of its golden-coloured blooms. It has long been used as an ingredient in soothing herbal teas. It is closely related to rooibos, also known as red tea.

This season make no mistake to indulge in Honeybush vanilla. It is a lovely pure Honeybush tea with burnt sugar sweetness and rich warm vanilla notes, and it is not artificial or overpowering in taste but complements the woodsy natural sweetness of pure Honeybush. What also makes it a winner is that you can enjoy it hot, or iced.

Kenyan purple tea

Purple tea is relatively new. Primarily grown in the fertile volcanic soil of Kenya, purple teas are rich in antioxidants and anthocyanins, and packed full of powerful health benefits like those found in other purple and blue foods. Purple teas brew up a light, reddish-purple colour, and have a mild taste. They are also extremely low in caffeine.

Below, tea sommelier, Jessica Bonin, also shares some tasting notes to demonstrate the range and depth of some of SA’s local Rooibos infusions that have recently exploded onto the scene and which are perfect for the spring season.

Bonin says pairing tea with food allows one to experience enhanced flavours through the complementary elements of various ingredients. She says it presents your palette with a new depth of taste brought about by a specific tea.

Rooibos and chamomile

Rooibos and chamomile has a woody, creamy and peachy taste with honey-floral undertones, which complements anything fruity or sweet, such as scones or shortbread.

Rooibos and mint

Rooibos and mint is a palate cleanser and acts as a digestive. It is drunk after heavy and rich meals or in-between courses.

Rooibos and lemon

This tea adds a slightly astringent note with a crisp aftertaste that compliments honey and ginger, while the refreshing taste of Rooibos and rosehip makes it an ideal afternoon refresher with salads and savoury snacks.

“Rooibos has an incredibly versatile flavour that makes it the perfect base for an array of ingredients. Tea enthusiasts can experiment by adding herbs, fruits, flowers, and even spices. The flavour cascades are infinite,” says Bonin.

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