Iced Karkade (hibiscus flower tea)

Crimson red and refreshingly tart, karkade (‘kar-ka-day’) or iced hibiscus flower tea is one of the most popular drinks in Egypt. My Egyptian neighbor showed me how to make it when we lived in Cairo: just steep the dried flowers in hot water. It is so easily done when you have the dried roselle calyces—the flower that forms around the seedpod of the roselle (Hibiscus sadbariffa). More than a refreshing drink, the health benefits attributed to hibiscus flower tea include relief from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is also believed to be beneficial to the digestive system. You can find dried roselle at Fiesta supermarkets (brand: Cyclone) but here’s a tip: Mark your calendar for the fall, when local roselle buds hit our Houston farmers markets. Plant it Forward is one of the market vendors who supplied a steady harvest last season.
By / Photography By Jenn Duncan | July 03, 2016


Remove from heat and let the tea steep for at least 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and cool. Sweeten with local raw honey (or raw cane sugar) and serve in a tall glass over ice and garnish with fresh mint and a slice of lemon.

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Rum & Roselle Cooler

Tart + Sweet + Rum = Summer Cooler! Bring a pitcher of this Rum & Roselle Cooler, made with homemade roselle syrup and karkade (hibiscus tea), and you’ll be a summer party hero!


  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup dried roselle calyces
  • Ice cubes
  • Local raw honey
  • Fresh mint and lemon for garnish
  • Bring the water to a boil. Add the dried roselle.
  • Boil for 2–3 minutes.
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