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.

Africa

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!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tea tasting sheet



I am working a tea tasting sheet for people when they try tea, any thoughts?  I know a lot of people vary the time they steep the tea.  And I usually base it on the individual tea itself- what the container specifies. 
I welcome your thoughts as I tweak this document.

NEW LOGO!
 



Tea, how much, temp, and steep time:
 
🍵White- 1 tsp, 185, 1-2 min
🍵Green -1 tsp, 185, 1-3 min
🍵Yellow- 1tsp, 176, 1-3 min
🍵Oolong- 1 tsp, 185, 1-3 min
🍵Black- 1 tsp, 212, 3-5 min
🍵Pu-erh- 1 tsp, 212, 2-5 min
 🍵Mate- 1.5 tsp, 212,  3-5 min
 🍵Rooibos -1 tsp, 212, 3-5 min
🍵 Herbal/Tisane- 1 tsp, 212, 3-5 min

Tea Name:  ___________________________________

Tea Merchant:  ________________________________

Date Sampled: ______  Price: _____________

Rating:     🍵  🍵  🍵  🍵

 
Tea Type: __White  __ Green  __ Yellow 
__Oolong  __ Black     __Pu-erh 
__ Herbal/Tistane  __  Other _______________


Brew Stats:    Water Temp_________    
 
 Steep time_________

 
NOTES: ___________________________________________

___________________________________________________

___________________________________________________

___________________________________________________

Flavor/Tasting notes:

Linger Finish __________________ Aroma __________________

Berry/Fruit ___________________  Citrus/Fruit _______________

Tropical/Fruit _________________ Stone/Fruit _______________

Floral _______________________  Herbal/Grassy _____________

Spicy ________________________  Sweet ____________________

Malty _______________________  Vegetal ___________________

Savory _______________________  Earthy  ___________________

Chocolaty ____________________ Smoky/Roasty ______________

Woody ______________________ Tannic ____________________

          Body ________________________  Balance ___________________

Monday, March 19, 2018

Tea Carts on the Streets of Conakry Guinea in Africa


So, I was in Guinea helping to teach some English at a student center.  I loved working with the students and seeing their excitement for learning.  One evening we went out for ice cream and all over the streets were these tea carts.  I wanted to badly to get some tea, but I was sure it would not be safe to drink...while in Africa I made sure to only drink bottled water.




I asked my friend what kind of tea they were selling- she said that it was mostly just Lipton.  That kind of makes me sad.  How boring and generic!!  I want to bring the wonderful tastes of tea to Guinea!! If I go back I want to get my own cart and give away good tea!  Not Lipton!  They need to experience real tea.





Sunday, March 18, 2018

Carpe Diem kombucha Brussels

I’m in Brussels airport traveling home from Africa.  I spent a week in Guinea helping to teach English- as well as teach a tea class and a paper beading class. 
I was tired and wanted a pick me up.  Plus I had gone a week without my own kombucha.  I spent the  extra money and tried a new brand.
What a disappointment!!  It wasn’t carbonated and the flavor was super weak.  I hate to say what I spent and I did not even finish it. 
This was a BIG miss for me- cost too much, weak flavor, and no carbonation.






 They say Kombucha has lots of anti-microbial powers and is full antioxidants, it helps sooth ulcers and improves the function of your pancreas.   Helps with your digestion and arthritis. It supports your liver.  It improves your mood. it helps you loose weight.  It helps you detoxify ... This one I can say is true!  I have one friend who calls it her "poop juice".  I can say  I've never been so regular myself!!! It also reduces the risk of heart disease and they say prevents cancer.  also lots of nutrition. Helps with your good cholesterol. Boosts immunity.  Treats type 2 diabetes too. I can't say that you will have all these changes or experience any of these benefits.... I'm just listing some of the things they say about Kombucha.  I can say I love it and drink a lot of it :)