Hibiscus Tea – Healthy, Refreshing & delicious

Agua de jamaica (pronounced hah-MY-kah), is an infusion of dried red hibiscus flowers.  The taste is slightly tart and refreshing. If you’ve ever had red zinger tea, it’s a little like that. Or a little like cranberry juice I love to add some fresh squeazed juice which makes it almost punch-like.

Hibiscus tea (an infusion actually) is popular all around the world. The hibiscus flower grows in tropical and semi-tropical climates. hibiscus trees are plentyful all over Los Angeles. You can find the dried hibiscus flowers at almost any Mexican market (look for “flor de jamaica”), I’ve bought them at Trader Joes or you can order them online but I like to pick them fresh from the garden.

The tea is a natural diuretic and has lots of Vitamin C. There’s also at least one government study that shows that hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • 2 quarts water
  • 6-10 Fresh flowers or 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 to 1 cup sugar (optional – depending on how sweet you would like it to be)
  • 1-2 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • A few thin slices ginger (optional)
  • Allspice berries (optional)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon or 2-3 oranges (optional)
  •  lime juice (optional)
  • Orange or lime slices for garnish


1 Put 4 cups of the water in a medium saucepan. Heat until boiling.

2 Turn off heat, add sugar, cinnamon, ginger slices, and/or a few allspice berries if you would like.  Stir in the hibiscus flowers.

2 Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and/or allspice berries.

(At this point you can store ahead the concentrate, chilled, until ready to make the drink.)

3 Add remaining 4 cups of water, freshly squeazed juice, (or if you want to chill the drink quickly, ice and water) to the concentrate, and chill. Alternatively you can add ice and chilled soda water for a bubbly version. Add a little lime juice for a more punch-like flavor.

*I prefer an unsweetened drink so choose to infuse the flowers without the sugar and after half an hour I pour half into a jug and set that aside for adult consumption.

Then added 4 teaspoons of icing sugar to the remainder which dissolves rapidly in the still warm infusion, before adding the juice of 2 large (freshly picked from the garden) oranges and chilled water for the children.

Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime.

Yield: Makes 2 quarts.

Scientists in Taiwan reported in The Journal of the Science of Food Agriculture that hibiscus tea made from the hibiscus flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa) may help control cholesterol, and thereby reduce the risk of heart disease. Scientists stated that the extract from the hibiscus flower significantly lowered the cholesterol content in the blood serum of lab animals, and successfully prevented oxidation of low-density lipoprotein. The extract has also been used in folk medicine to treat high blood pressure and liver disorder.


50+UPF Sunny Sleevez

About sunnysleevez

I'm a freckly red head, originally from London now living in LA with 2 pale children. Frankly with our coloring we have no business being such an outdoorsy family and living in southern California. I grew up in a time when factor 8 sun milk was considered the best protection available to combat the hot rays of a holiday in southern Spain, that lead to 3rd degree burns and the rest of the vacation spent in the shade of our apartment. As a family we love to be outside, going to the beach, camping, swimming & hiking. We can't completely avoid the sun (nor should we) but taking sensible measures to avoid unnecessary UV damage is a priority. How do we do that? By staying in the shade in the middle of the day, wearing sun protective clothing (that's why I created Sunny Sleevez), a broad brimmed hat, UV rated sunglasses, using chemical-free broad spectrum sun screen on exposed areas & eating a healthy diet with as few chemicals as possible & lots of antioxidants.
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18 Responses to Hibiscus Tea – Healthy, Refreshing & delicious

  1. i love agua fresca and jamaica is my #1 favorite and one of the easiest to make i will be trying the extra’s the next time i make it i usually just use the flowers water and sugar but this sounds yummy

  2. gracegothealthy says:

    Goodness that looks refreshing and amazing!

  3. Reblogged this on jamiesesthetics and commented:
    This looks very yummy! I think I will be attempting this VERY soon!
    Very Summer… and plus it’s PINK! Can’t ever go wrong with anything that’s pink 😉
    **I could see how one could easily make this into an adult Summer drink as well… possibly adding some Rum? Vodka? even Tequila I think would work well… hmmm… perhaps I will be experimenting with that too!**
    Great tip for a great drink!

  4. mm this sounds amazing! x

  5. Yummy, I must try this sounds delicious!

  6. pennycoho says:

    You have a lovely blog site, glad I’ll be following you, and I ‘m going to try your recipe, I just know it’s going to taste wonderful.

  7. All of the sudden I just got really thirsty! It’s amazing how many different cultures around the world embrace hibiscus…in the Philippines, we call this gumamela.

  8. mfushidara says:

    This is amazing! It inspired me to plant hibiscus in the garden! ^_^

  9. suzanneseely says:

    super cheery drink! loved the photo and the description of the drink was great, the recipe is exotic and lovely

  10. mountainmae says:

    Hibiscus are so beautiful, it would be like drinking beauty. Thank you for following my blog. Time seems to be compressed lately. I awake today feeling so grateful for my life and all its’ blessings so I decided to start thanking people. Blog-pals are important to me.

  11. crunchedd says:

    A refreshing post indeed! 😀

  12. alangent says:

    wow!! looks totally gorgeous, but need the flowers, like other posters I will have to plant…..

  13. Mellie Lang says:

    wow I have these in my gardena and they are beautiful I had no idea you could make a drink from it. Going to try it later, thanks so much for posting the recipe.

  14. Candy says:

    Green tea and hibiscus tea are my favorite drinks. These are easy to prepare. has anyone tried it with a garbanzo bean salad? Taste good. More so, I enjoy the smell of dried hibiscus flowers. 😛

  15. Through & Through says:

    Woah crazy! I never knew hibiscus flowers were edible! Sounds like a really delicious drink! Thank you for following my blog by the way!! 🙂

  16. chiquitar says:

    I’ve never made this, but it sounds delicious and perfect for Guam, so I’m going to be looking for hibiscus flowers. I love your SunSleevez idea and as a pasty-white living in the tropics (or anywhere, for that matter, I can very nearly burn in the dark) I need all the help I can get. Thanks for stopping by my blog– I’m so glad to meet a new great blogger!

  17. timothynh says:

    Thanks for following my blog. Jaimaica is also called Sorrel Tea in the Caribbean. I tend to make it much more concentrated and use it as a base by adding water or fruit or whatever.

    Love the blog!

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