Let's talk Hibiscus Tea

Posted by Lisa Kling on

Bluffton Tea’s Hibiscus Blend, serve iced as the perfect solution for a summer afternoon or evening beverage, it’s refreshing, visually appealing with no caffeine.

Yesterday was Market Day at the Bluffton Farmers Market and we demo’ed one of our favorite iced teas:  Hibiscus with mashed strawberries, all herbal (flower pieces), so no caffeine, yields a delightful refreshing beverage with an amazing crimson red color.  It’s natural cranberry reminiscent taste combined with strawberries is simple delightful.

And our Customers reactions - their faces light up with a smile and request we post the directions on line, so here we go.

Hibiscus tea is what is often called an "herbal tea". It is produced from the calyx of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. It is not a true tea, but a tisane, however the beverage is referred to popularly as hibiscus tea. True teas come from the plant Camellia sinensis.  The flavonoids in the calcyx, in particular delphinidin and cyanidin, are what gives the flower and the tea its crimson color. It has a semi sweet flavor that resembles the cranberry.

Bluffton Tea’s Hibiscus Blend:

Standard measurement: Approximately 1 heaping teaspoon Bluffton Tea’s Hibiscus Herbal Blend per 8 OZ boiling water, or 4 - 5 heaping teaspoons per quart or liter.  If planning on making pitchers of hibiscus tea, we recommend buying our 2 OZ package of Bluffton tea Hibiscus.  For an elegant presentation, we recommend serving with a spring of mint or basil in a tall glass.

Serve Hot or Iced:

Hot tea brewing method: Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a boil. 
Place 1 teaspoon of herbal tea for each 7-9oz of fluid volume in the teapot. Pour the 
boiling water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 5-10 minutes according to taste 
(the longer the steeping time, the better the flavor as more fruit and herb flavor is extracted)

 

Iced tea brewing method sweetened with strawberries: 2 options in adding the strawberries (1) without sugar and (2) with a sugar using a strawberry simple syrup - your choice and you control  the sweetness.

Method 1 - No sugar, just strawberries:
Measure 4 - 5 heaping teaspoons of hibiscus petals , pour 1 1/4 cup boiling water, steep 5 - 7 minutes. Add mashed frozen fresh strawberries, refrigerate for an hour if possible.   Quarter fill a pitcher with cold water.  Strain tea through ice, top off pitcher, add additional ice. 
Method 2 - With sugar, making a strawberry simple syrup.
Measure 4 - 5 heaping teaspoons of hibiscus petals , pour 1 1/4 cup boiling water, steep 5 - 7 minutes. Add strawberry simple syrup to your taste (recipe below).   Quarter fill a pitcher with cold water.  Strain tea through ice, top off pitcher, add additional ice.
Directions for Bluffton Tea’s Strawberry Simple Syrup:
-1 Cup mashed Strawberries, fresh or frozen
-2 Cups Organic Sugar
-1 Cup Water.
Blend Strawberries & Sugar. Boil the water, add the sugar mixture, boil, stirring constantly, remove from heat.  Refrigerate in an air tight container for up to one week.

 

We regularly read and hear about the health benefits of different herbs including Hibiscus.  We viewed them all with a certain amount of skepticism.  We aren’t doctors and don’t pretend to be, but will report on studies or cautions.  We’ve found the benefits below as some of the purported health benefits of Hibiscus including: 

- Reducing Blood Pressure: Tufts University’s Research Center on Aging conducted a study regarding the possible effect that hibiscus tea might have on blood pressure.  The result was a significant lowering of blood pressure in both the systolic and diastolic measurements for people given the hibiscus tea. 

- Cholesteral reduction: Studies from 2009, 2010 and 2011 have mixed results, so this is not definitive.

Hibiscus tea has a high concentration of organic acids. The three organic acids that have been identified are citric, malic, and tartaric. These have been known to give an overall boost to the immune system.

And Hibiscus Tea consumption words of caution: 

Hibiscus, despite its wide variety of positive uses and characteristics, should be avoided by pregnant women. It is classified as an emmenagogue, or stimulant for menstruation. It causes a drop in progesterone levels, which are most important in the first stages of pregnancy. Drinking hibiscus tea during this time can result in a miscarriage. Women who are trying to conceive should also not consume hibiscus. It can interfere with the implantation process.

Finally, due to the fact that hibiscus has the ability to lower blood pressure, people who have hypotension - excessively low blood pressure, should not consume hibiscus.