The other day I got chatting with a customer about the best way of making Hibiscus Iced Tea. After looking around a bit, and trying out some ideas, I think the following two are the best recipes for Hibiscus Iced Tea. (If you think you got better ones, feel free to share. Summer is approaching and it good to stock up on ideas to make it more fun!)
The first one is by Hiedi from 101 Cookbooks and the other is NYtimes from their Dining & Wining section.
Recipe#1 Hibiscus Iced Tea
4 cups water 1/2 cup hibiscus tea 1/2 cup sugar (I used 1/4 cup of Agave) Another 3 cups of cold water More sugar to taste 1 lime, thinly sliced
First off, pick out a pot that won't stain. Hibiscus has the potential to stain just about anything it comes in contact with including your countertop, cookware, wooden spoons, favorite jeans, etc. So keep this in mind.
Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove water from heat and add the dried flowers and sugar. Place a lid over the pot and steep for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice along the way to break down the sugar granules.
Pour the infusion through a strainer into a pitcher or jug (this is usually where something gets stained). You are going to want to add about 3 more cups of cold water to the pitcher. Taste and adjust based on your personal preference. You can add a bit more sugar if you think you need it, or more water if you feel like the jamaica is too overpowering.
Cool completely and serve with plenty of ice in glasses garnished with a slice of lime.
Recipe#2 Hibiscus Hot Iced Tea
1 ounce (a heaping 1/2 cup) dried hibiscus flowers (see note) 1/2 cup sugar 1 small fresh habanero chili Ice for serving
Heat 1 quart water to boiling and let stand 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the hibiscus flowers and the sugar in a heat-safe 2-quart pitcher.
Over a gas burner, or in a hot, dry skillet, toast the chili until the skin has blackened in places. (Hold the chili with tongs; its natural oils irritate skin.) Cut the chili in half widthwise; discard the top half, which includes the seed pod and stem. Remove any stray seeds and add the chili to the sugar mixture. Pour the hot water into the pitcher and cover with plastic wrap. Let steep for 30 minutes, removing the chili after it has flavored the tea to the desired hotness (10 to 30 minutes). Strain the tea through a sieve into a serving pitcher, and refrigerate until cool.
The quality of fine tea is dependent on many qualities, with sunlight, soil content, and elevation drastically effecting the finished product. A lesser known factor, however, is the direction a hill slopes while growing tea.
Two things I most love about my job - spending time with customers, and visiting the tea gardens back east. Every time I am driving around the hills where the tea is grown, the beauty of the place makes me feel utterly blessed that I can do this for a living.
I just got back from India after a two and a half week trip. Although it was not the intent but me and my travel companion, who in this case happened to be my 12 year old daughter, Tara, ended up "Chasing the Monsoons", like the travel writer Alexander Frater in his once popular book. And like Frater discovering - in our case rediscovering - the overwhelming life force of India even as the heavens hosed down the sub-continent.