A ritual I love and post on Instagram frequently is enjoying a cup of tea in the afternoon while my daughter has her after-school snack. This has been such a soothing practice and, let’s face it, a jolt of just enough caffeine to get me through the rest of our day.

Sometimes, I could do without the extra caffeine. This doesn’t mean I’m feeling well rested (will that day ever come?), but perhaps I’ve front-loaded my bloodstream with an extra few cups of morning coffee. Not all my caffeine consumption is a beautiful, Instagram-worthy ritual.

Recently, one of my favorite IG friends Yukari Shiro posted a photo of rooibos tea, which is a naturally decaffeinated herbal tea. I had somehow forgotten all about rooibos despite once keeping vast quantities of it on hand! To be fair, that was over ten years ago.

We’re lucky enough to have a year-round farmer’s market very nearby, the Second Street Market, which is run by Five Rivers Metroparks. I started visiting the market right after grad school in 2010, and discovered rooibos on the recommendation of one of the baristas at the coffee shop. He recommended adding a splash of soy milk to rooibos. Generally speaking, I hate non-dairy milk, but soy milk really does complement the flavors in this particular tea.

It’s been some time since I’ve been to the market, and I need to visit again soon. In the meantime, I purchased a tin of Harney & Sons Organic Rooibos. I always buy loose-leaf tea. It’s a quality rooibos tea, although I find it has to steep for a bit longer than the recommended five minutes. Around the eight-minute mark has worked for me. At five minutes, it just hasn’t developed a full flavor or a strong rooibos red color. Unlike black tea, rooibos doesn’t turn bitter with a little extra steeping time.

The soy milk tip from above is a good one. My usual tea addition, whole milk, flattens out the flavor of rooibos instead of enhancing it. So, I’ll be buying the tiniest bottle of soy milk commercially available and using that from now on.

Paired with some on-theme treats from Agi’s Slovak Bakery via Dorothy Lane Market, this tea break was a relaxing way to celebrate Valentine’s Day!