a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes
On the hottest day of May on record in Denver – 91 degrees according to the news, but 108 degrees on my deck according to my outdoor thermometer – this chilly tea treat seemed like the perfect recipe to share.
For this round of recipe testing, I experimented with a special batch of hibiscus that my friend Cami brought back from her recent Guatemala vacation adventure. Cami is one of my non tea-drinking friends who usually says of my Zanitea Organic Tea Blends, “I don’t like tea, but I love this!” She knew I’d know what to do with this homegrown, hand-dried flower, known as flor de Jamaica to Guatemalans.
I offer two tea steeping options in this recipe – cold or hot. I prefer a cold steep, where you soak the flowers overnight in cold water in the fridge. A cold steep releases the flavor of the flowers slowly and you end up with a more mellow tasting brew. But if you’re short on time you can do a traditional hot steep, soaking the flowers in boiled water for 15 minutes. The heat will extract the flavor and chemical properties of the flowers more rapidly and completely, so it will be slightly stronger, perhaps a tad more bitter depending on the hibiscus flower, and the lavender flavor will be more prominent. (If you want to read more about cold brewing vs. hot brewing, check out this helpful New York Times article.)
This special batch of Guatemalan hibiscus flowers brewed into a beautiful, ruby red colored liquor, with a bold, tart flavor. But I think it’s the touch of lavender that ultimately makes this refreshing tea blend so interesting.
I highly recommend sipping your Hibiscus-Lavender Frappé while nibbling on a lavender shortbread cookie, using one of the variations on the Indian Rose Shortbread Cookie recipe I recently posted.
Happy cooking and sipping!
Makes about 2 large or 4 small servings
6 cups (1 ½ quarts) cold, filtered water
½ cup dried hibiscus flowers
¼ cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups frozen strawberries (about 1 lb)
2 teaspoons agave nectar (or to taste)
1. Steep the hibiscus and lavender flowers in cold, filtered water overnight in the refrigerator in a sealed container. In the morning, strain the mixture, discard the flowers, and return the hibiscus-lavender tea liquid to the refrigerator in a sealed container. (If you want to make this a same-day recipe, steep the flowers in boiled water for 15 minutes, strain, and allow the tea to chill thoroughly in the refrigerator before continuing.)
2. When you’re ready to prepare the frappé, add the frozen berries, agave nectar and 2 cups of the hibiscus-lavender tea to a blender. Blend thoroughly, adding additional tea as necessary to facilitate smooth blending. Less tea results in a thicker frappé that you can eat with a spoon, and more tea results in a thinner, smoothie-like drink.