Monday, 29 October 2012

Red tea كركديه Karkadé

Karkadé is made from the red calyces which form around the seed-pods of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower.  It is this outer covering that is collected and dried to make karkadé.

Red tea كركديه Karkadé
Red tea كركديه Karkadé 
We didn’t have Red tea كركديه Karkadé available all the time at home but I distinctly remember asking my mum for some and we struggled to source it locally.  I think when my parents went to Egypt we were able to bring some back.  Kept in a plastic container it lasted for years. 

I remember having red tea كركديه Karkadé after that kind of like it was cordial.  Occasionally we would have it in winter, hot and in summer it was a lovely refreshing drink served cold during the heat of the day.  I like it either way.  I made it today hot and my husband drank Red tea كركديه Karkadé hot for the first time.  He seemed surprised that he liked it so I should remember that for next winter when anything hot and sweet is particularly comforting. 

Red tea كركديه Karkadé
Red tea كركديه Karkadé  in the making
The drink is made in much the same way as a cup of tea.   In a tea pot take a full handful of the dark, almost purple-black, karkadé (The light red kind has less flavour and contains more acid).  Add a litre  or 4 cups of cold water.  Bring to the boil and simmer for three minutes.  Strain off what is now a bright red liquid. You can re-boil the calyces again with enough cold water to cover them and give them another three-minute boil to extract all you can.  Add a tablespoonof sugar for each glass (or to taste) stir and serve hot.

To watch the video of how to make Red tea كركديه Karkadé, click the image below :

Alternatively, in a jug pour boiling water.   Add karkadé and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves.  Leave for a couple of hours until the water becomes dark red.  Strain the tea and cool in refrigerator until serving.   Drinking tea made this way is believed to be able to lower blood pressure.

Red tea كركديه Karkadé  can come as a very dark red / purple colour.  This has more flavour than the light red variety.  This lighter variety is also more acidic so try and buy the dark Karkade.

Red tea كركديه Karkadé
Red tea كركديه Karkadé 
It may be difficult to source in some areas but the best bet would be in Mediterranean delicatessens or possibly health food shops.  Speciality tea shops sell it too (something like T2 tea). T2 offers over 180 teas (wonderful for all you tea lovers out there) and amongst the lot they have a variety of tea blends which contain Hibiscus in them.  They are called Very Berry Fruitea,  Vanilla Slice, French Earl Grey, Strawberries & Cream, Citrus Punch, Passion, Strawberry Sensation, Ruby Red Rosehip, Raspberry Rush, Red Chai, Botanica, Fruit Royale, Spring, Sweet Spice, Riotous Rose, Fruit Blush, Pumping Pomegranate.  

They also, thankfully, stock Just Hibiscus which is unblended so the best option if you want to try true Red tea كركديه Karkadé, plucked from the heart of the hibiscus flower.

I got my last stock from Dad (as per usual) and so did not have to go hunting for it myself.  If you have had Red tea كركديه Karkadé or know where to get the tea from locally perhaps you could leave a comment here so that others might be able to find it too.

Red tea كركديه Karkadé
Red tea كركديه Karkadé 
I am not a tea drinker, per say, herbals occasionally but I do think that even if you are not a tea drinker then this one is for you.  Give it a try - you might be surprised at how nice this tea can be!


  1. You can also find dried hibiscus flowers in Mexican and Caribbean markets, called "Jamaica Flower".

  2. hi
    is it possible to make an alcoholic cocktail with this

    1. Dump flowers in vodka. Let it sit. Strain it. Make something.

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