Hibiscus is suddenly everywhere now. This past summer I’ve spotted hibiscus lemonade at coffee shops, hibiscus chocolates at farmers markets and hibiscus soft serve at an overly trendy pop up. In today’s Instagram crazed food culture, it’s no surprise that this bright pink tropical flower has exploded in popularity.
I’ve never seen a fresh hibiscus in real life, it’s always sold dried, often as a tea whenever I’ve seen it in natural food stores. Its flavor is mildly sweet, with a bit of a tropical tang.
But hibiscus boasts some health properties, which is how it ended up being stocked on health food store shelves in the first place. Researchers have found that hibiscus is a great source of antioxidants, and a few smaller studies have found that it can help lower blood pressure in adults.
Making hibiscus kombucha is easy. I start with a base brew of fermented kombucha and then add a simple syrup that has been steeped with hibiscus leaves. It becomes bright pink, with a touch of sweetness that stays even when it’s fermented longer. It’s a beautiful drink and I’ve found it’s a great flavour for those that often don’t enjoy kombucha! I was surprised when my father-in-law refilled his glass several times!
- 1 gallon of cold water, filtered
- 16g organic black tea (or 6 tea bags)
- 1 cup + 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups plain kombucha (store bought or homemade)
- 1 SCOBY
- 10g dried hibiscus (often sold as a herbal tea)
- 1 wide mouth glass vessel that can hold up at least 1 gallon of liquid for fermenting the kombucha
- Bottles with swing-top caps for fermenting
- Bring 1 litre of water to a boil in a large pot on the stove. Turn off the heat, and add the black tea to the pot to steep.
- Add 1 cup of sugar and mix until fully dissolved.
- Let the tea steep for 40 minutes. Remove the tea bags or steeping bag from the tea.
- Pour the tea and sugar mixture into your fermenting vessel. Add the remaining cold water to the vessel.
- Add the 2 cups of previously brewed kombucha to the vessel.
- Gently add the SCOBY to the vessel, and cover tightly with a tea towel.
- Let ferment for up to two weeks, checking after a week to see if it's fermented to your liking yet.
- Once it's fermented to your desired tangy-ness, or maybe just a bit beyond, begin making the simple syrup.
- For the simple syrup, bring two cups of water to boil in a small saucepot on the stove. Add 1/2 cup of sugar, and mix until dissolved.
- Add the dried hibiscus, and let steep for one hour. Strain the hibiscus out and discard.
- Remove the SCOBY from your fermented kombucha, and keep if you plan to continue making more kombucha. Reserve a few cups of the kombucha if you are planning to ferment another batch.
- Once the hibiscus simple syrup has cooled, pour it into the kombucha and mix. Pour into bottles, and keep in the refrigerator, burping the bottles every week to prevent too much pressure to build up. Enjoy immediately, or allow to it to continue to ferment for up to 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, it can become vinegary in taste.