The Non-Safe Choice: Rooibos at Sovereign Grounds
Rooibos is pronounced "roy-boss" and means "red bush" in Afrikaans, the South African language descended from Dutch. The "red bush" in this case refers to a wilderness (or "bush") herbal tea that produces a reddish hued beverage.
The tea is a sub-Saharan African mainstay, often served sweetened and with milk in South Africa and without either elsewhere. What it's doing at Sovereign Grounds, a charming little South Minneapolis cafe, is less obvious.
The cafe offers a number of rooibos beverages, but the cappuccino made using a concentrated "red espresso" version of the tea seemed as though it might hit the sweet spot of "exotic" meets "familiar." And so it did, upon tasting.
The beverage combined the best elements of chai, English Breakfast tea and cappuccino; it's a slightly cinnamon spiced, pleasantly astringent, and foamy as the dickens. Take it sweetened (as the proprietor will suggest), and a gentle swirl of honey will penetrate every sip you take. It's the best new hot beverage I've tried since the sampling legendary hot chocolate at Burdick's in Cambridge, Mass., and it's only $2.50.
Rooibos Cappuccino at Sovereign Grounds
Fear and/or Confusion Factor While Ordering (out of 10): 5
Actual Fear and/or Confusion Factor, While Eating : 1