Saturday, March 24, 2018

Bissap from Africa

I am a big fan of hibiscus tea. I enjoy it both hot and cold.  But, mostly I enjoy it cold.   I love to get the passion tea at Starbucks- with half the pumps of syrup.  A few years ago my friend went to Guinea and brought me back some hibiscus dried flowers.  She explained that in Guinea they made a tea there and it was called Bissap.  She made me some and I really enjoyed it- it was super sweet, but I really enjoyed it. I long ago ran out of the flowers she bought for me.
So, in February when I was in Conakry Guinea I knew I had to buy some hibiscus in the market.  Below is a picture of my friends with a man they bought some items from in the market.  Behind them is the small booth where I bought my hibiscus.  The bags of hibiscus are like .10 a bag.  I bought a lot of bags.

Above is the market we were in, the tiny isles held a variety of items for sale- material, spices, food, and more.  It was filed with a multitude of smells and colors.
Hibiscus tea is a herbal tea made as an infusion from crimson or deep magenta-coloured calyces (sepals) of the roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) flower. It is consumed both hot and cold.
It has a tart, cranberry-like flavour, and sugar or honey is often added to sweeten it. The tea contains vitamin C and minerals and is used traditionally as a mild medicine. In west Sudan a white hibiscus flower is favoured for its bitter taste and is customarily served to guests.
Hibiscus tea contains 15-30% organic acids, including citric acidmalic acid, and tartaric acid. It also contains acidic polysaccharides and flavonoid glycosides, such as cyanidin and delphinidin, that give it its characteristic deep red colour.


Karkadé (/ˈkɑːrkəd/ KAR-kə-dayArabicكركديه‎, [kæɾkæˈdeː]) is served hot or chilled with ice. It is very popular in some parts of North Africa, especially in Egypt and Sudan; hibiscus from Upper Egypt and Sudan is highly prized in both countries. Hibiscus tea is especially popular in Sudan where it is often prepared by soaking the calyces in cold water for a few days and then straining the result. In Egypt and Sudan, wedding celebrations are traditionally toasted with a glass of hibiscus tea. On a typical street in central Cairo, many vendors and open-air cafés sell the drink.
In Africa, especially the Sahel, hibiscus tea is commonly sold on the street and the dried flowers can be found in every market. Variations on the drink are popular in West Africa and parts of Central Africa. In Senegalbissap is known as the "national drink of Senegal". Similar beverages include wanjo in The Gambiadabileni in Mali, and zobo or tsobo in all of Nigeria.Hibiscus tea is often flavoured with mint or ginger in West Africa. In Ghana it is known as "sobolo".
-from Wikipedia

Back in the states I was all excited to make some tea, now that I had experienced Bissap for myself in Africa.  I decided to add some of my favorite coconut oolong tea to the drink.  I had Bissap in the one restaurant we ate in.  They added vanilla sugar to the Bissap and I liked the added flavor, so I thought coconut could be a nice addition to what I was making,

The hibiscus flowers are dusty, so I did rinse them before I made the tea.

One bag made two gallons of iced tea,  below is the second time I ran it through the iced tea maker.  The color was lighter, but the flavor was just as good as the first batch,

The Bissap with coconut was wonderful!!!!!  I love drinking it, it reminds me of the friends I made while in Conakry.

My cousin who went along to Guinea was doing a presentation for school, so I made a gallon Bissap for her to take to school to hare with her class. I also sent some vanilla sugar with her that I had purchased in Guinea to add to their Bissap.

The photo below is of an African man selling tea pots,  I knew that I had to have one of those tea pots!!!!  12 years ago when I was in Africa I saw these great colorful bowls and I always wished I bought one.  Then I saw these teapots and found out that they were made in Guinea and told the lady I was with I wanted one.  She laughed- she shared that theses pots were not for tea!  These pots they used for "cleaning".  I laughed too....but I did buy one, and I do plan on serving Bissap in it,

Here is my plastic tea pot.  I plan on serving iced tea and Bissap in it. I purchased the smaller size, but there was a larger size too.  What a fun reminder of Guinea for me!!

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