Technically this is not a copycat recipe from a certain chain of coffee houses that shall remain nameless, you know, the omnipresent one that is on almost every street corner, mall and grocery store these days. Their Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher is made with fresh blackberries and “a boost of natural energy from Green Coffee Extract”.
Mine is a tisane, a fancy word for an herbal tea without caffeine. And it has a deep rich beautiful color and you can use any berry, fresh or frozen, that you desire. And you can make it sugar free if you desire.
And it is considerably cheaper than the coffee house version. Even if you add in some green coffee extract.
The ingredients are quite simple. Lets start with the hibiscus. This is not the hibiscus we are using for this drink:
The hibiscus used is botanically the Hibiscus sabdariffa, and it isn’t the flower that is used for the tea but the sepals (the reddish purple part around the flower):
Thanks to Renee’s Garden Seeds for the above photo. Check out the site for how to grow the plant as well as additional recipes like Hibiscus Relish.
Being from the Southwestern U.S. I know the flower as Jamaica and I can easily find them dried with all of the Mexican herbs at my local grocery store. But, a little research on the always knowledgeable Wikipedia reveals that hibiscus tea has lots of different names and is available all over the world:
The drink is called roselle (a name for the flower) or rosella (Australia), agua de Jamaica and/or flor de Jamaica in Latin America, Arhul ka phool in India, karkadé in Levant, Egypt, Italy and Sudan, Chai Kujarat in Iraq, Chai Torsh in Iran, gumamela in the Philippines, bissap, tsoborodo or wonjo in West Africa, sorrel in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, red sorrel in the wider Caribbean, and other names in other regions, including the U.S., where it is sometimes known as simply Jamaica.
So, if Mexican ingredients are not a staple in your area, perhaps one of those other names may aid your search. The dried flower looks like this:
The other two ingredients, besides water and ice, are sugar and berries. I usually use a no-calorie sugar substitute and whatever berries are fresh and in season locally – frozen are fine. In this case it was strawberries.
Just boil water, steep the flowers for 5 minutes, strain and add crushed berries and ice. Aahhhhh! a simple refreshing drink, perfect for a hot summer day.
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Until next time, happy eating.