Karkade - the refreshing red tea of Egypt

Karkade or hibiscus juice is a refreshing drink that was thought to be popular with the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs. It's the perfect drink for a hot summers day.

Karkade is a juice or tea made from hibiscus flower petals. It has a taste like cranberry juice although it is not quite as sour. It is available from coffee shops or restaurants, or from the karkade man who walks around with a giant glass jar strapped to him yelling 'karkade!!!'

Karkade has many medicinal properties, some of which are; regulating blood pressure, diuretic benefits & it is high in vitamin C. It tastes good, is refreshing & can help with your health, treat yourself to a glass today!

Hibiscus is highly prized, and the dried calyces can be found on any herb and spice stall in the souks and markets. They have a beautiful strong odour. Egyptian hibiscus plantations are mainly found in the Upper Egypt regions of Qena and Aswan and in the oasis of Fayoum.

How to brew karkade


 ¼ cup dried hibiscus calyces

10 cups cold water ½ -1 cup sugar (optional – the juice is quite tart and you can either add the sugar now or add a teaspoonful in your cup; replace with honey if you prefer if drinking the juice cold you may appreciate sweetening)


Place the water and hibiscus in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the sugar (as required) and then simmer for around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the mixture in a sieve. If drinking the juice cold, leave it to cool and place in the fridge; you can then add ice cubes and a slice of lemon or lime if you wish. For a spicy, warm punch (similar to a mulled wine but without the wine!) add some cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and orange/lemon slices before you leave it to simmer. It is delicious to poach pears in as well.