What is Red Espresso? The Caffeine-Free Alternative to Regular Espresso

Shot of organic red rooibos espresso shot with text
Red Espresso is basic Rooibos tea, ground fine, and brewed through an espresso machine. At Cupper’s Coffee & Tea you can substitute red espresso in any of the espresso based drinks on our drink menu. It’s a delicious alternative to caffeinated drinks. (Red Caramel Macchiato anyone?)
 
Red espresso produced in our La Marzocco has a beautiful, golden crema just like espresso. This is because of the natural-occurring oils in the tea. If you’re brewing red espresso at home, you can also use most home espresso machines. Even a standard Aeropress makes a mean red espresso!
 
If you drink same the amount of coffee as we do at Cupper’s, having a caffeine-free alternative is important! At those times, we like to use red espresso instead coffee espresso. This prevents us from the over-stimulation of too much caffeine. (This is still a regular occurrence!)
Rooibos red espresso filling a shot glass

What Does Red Espresso Taste Like?

Red espresso doesn’t taste like coffee espresso, but that’s not a bad thing.
 
Our high-grown rooibos is a bolder, sweeter, richer-tasting rooibos. It’s quite different from any that you’ve ever tried. It delivers a strong, full-bodied tea flavour.
 
​If you want a fresh roasted coffee flavour, you’re best off to stay with traditional espresso. ​If you’re a tea drinker and want to try something different and crazy-healthy, red espresso will do it for you!

What Are The Health Benefits Of Red Espresso?

Red rooibos espresso has​ 10 times more antioxidants than regular brewed rooibos tea. Even better, it has 50 times more antioxidants than brewed green tea! Antioxidants are amazing as they have anti-ageing properties. Antioxidant-rich red rooibos binds free radicals and prevents them from damaging cells.
 
Current studies show some of the potential health effects of rooibos. One study shows it helps lower the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. It also appears to help combat depression, particularly around stress. Another study suggests it lowers cholesterol and is good for your heart health.
 
Have as many shots as you like without getting jittery from caffeine. This also means it’s 100% safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. All those antioxidants are great for both mom and baby. Kids also love red espresso, and with the antioxidants its a powerful immune-booster.
Mug of rooibos red espresso with layers of creama

How Do You Make Red Espresso?

Making red espresso at home can’t get easier! All you need is Rooibos Red Espresso, which we have at Cupper’s.
 
For your home espresso machine, scoop 16 grams of red espresso into your double shot portafilter. Then pull water through as you would if you were pulling regular espresso shots. Don’t tamp the red espresso before pulling your shot. Instead shake the portafilter a bit to level the tea out. Red espresso pulls slower from an espresso machine than a regular shot of espresso will. This is normal.
 
If you are using an Aeropress, the method the same as your normal brewing routine. Scoop in 16 grams of red espresso and pour hot water up to the 2 shot line. Let it steep for 1-2 minutes, and then press the red espresso into your cup.
Red rooibos shots being pulled from an espresso machine

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is red espresso from?
Red espresso is from South Africa, like all Rooibos Tea. It is grown in the Cedarburg Valley.
 
What’s in red espresso?
It’s pure 100% rooibos tea. It’s ground finer than regular rooibos tea so it pulls in an espresso machine.
 
What colour should red espresso be?
Red espresso should pull from your machine with a deep red colour. The crema (the frothy, foamy layer on top) should be a rich golden orange.
 
Where can I buy red espresso?
You can buy red espresso at Cupper’s Coffee & Tea. It doesn’t get easier than that!
Infographic about Rooibos Red Espresso