Hibiscus is an amazingly beautiful flowering plant native to North Africa and Southeast Asia. The tea brewed from its flower petals is a tasty beverage with tart and sweet floral flavors, and it can be served hot or iced. In addition to explaining how to make hot hibiscus tea, this article includes a recipe for iced Mexican hibiscus tea (agua de Jamaica) and hibiscus gin and tonic cocktail.
I like to drink herbal teas every day because there are so many to choose from, each with their own unique taste and health benefits. Over the years I have tried hundreds of herbs and herbal blends and still continue finding new ones that haven’t tried yet. The first time I tried hibiscus tea was years ago when I was traveling in North Africa, and it’s still definitely one of my favorites!
Making a nice cup of hibiscus tea is not difficult at all. There are many different recipes for making it, and I have collected my favorite ones in this article. Whether you like it hot, cold, or with alcohol, you will find a nice recipe here.
Why I like Hibiscus Tea
There are many reasons to love hibiscus tea. I really like its floral taste with sour and sweet notes, that somewhat resembles cranberry. The vibrant magenta red color of the tea is also visually appealing. In addition, hibiscus tea is full of antioxidants and has many proven health benefits.
Hibiscus tea has traditionally been used for treating high blood pressure. It may also help with lowering cholesterol and boosting liver health. Drinking hibiscus tea daily can also aid in losing weight and preventing cancer. Furthermore, the antioxidants found in hibiscus can help our body with fighting against harmful bacteria.
One nice thing about hibiscus is the plant itself. It is one of the most beautiful plants you can grow in your garden (or indoors). It’s surprisingly easy to grow it, and a blooming hibiscus is really an incredibly beautiful sight!
How to Make Hot Hibiscus Tea
If you have hibiscus growing in your garden, you can harvest your own fresh hibiscus flower for the tea. Hibiscus flowers come in many colors, but the red ones are best for making tea. The flowers are mature for harvesting when they start to curl from the edges and their color starts to darken. You can also buy dried hibiscus flowers for making the tea. I recommend using organic high-quality hibiscus.
Below are the ingredients and instructions for making nice and tasty hot hibiscus tea.
Ingredients for 5 servings (30 oz / 1 liter) of hibiscus tea:
- 1 cup (250 ml) of fresh hibiscus flower petals (or 4 tablespoons of dried hibiscus flower)
- 4 cups of water (equals to about 1 liter)
- 1-2 tablespoons of lemon or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons of honey
How to make it:
- Trim the fresh hibiscus flowers by removing the green part (calyx) at the base of the flower. Then remove the seed pods in middle and rinse the flower petals with water. You can also use the calyxes or dry them for later use. If you are using dried hibiscus, you can skip this step.
- Pour the water into a pot and add the fresh or dried hibiscus flowers. Bring to boil, turn off the heat, and cover with a lid. Let it steep for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the cover and add lemon or lime juice, and honey, if you wish to do so. Mix with a spoon.
- Pour into glasses or teacups through a strainer and enjoy!
Here is an excellent video that explains how to harvest hibiscus flowers from your garden and use them for making tea:
Hibiscus Tea with Ginger and Cinnamon
You can add ginger and cinnamon to your hibiscus tea to give it a more spicy and aromatic taste. Ginger is also known for its many health benefits, and adding it to your hibiscus tea makes it a real antioxidant bomb!
You can start by adding a one-inch piece of cinnamon stick and/or half an inch piece of fresh ginger (or a half tablespoon of dried ginger) to your hibiscus tea. You can later increase the amount if you want either of these flavors to be even stronger.
Crush the cinnamon and peel and slice the fresh ginger into thin slices before using them. Then just add them into the water at the same time with the hibiscus flower, when you are making the tea.
Iced Mexican Hibiscus Tea Recipe (Agua de Jamaica)
Agua de Jamaica is iced hibiscus tea that is especially popular in Mexico. It is made by boiling hibiscus flowers (flor de Jamaica) in water, adding sugar and lime juice, and then chilling it. You can also add cinnamon and ginger for extra taste.
I prefer making a big amount of strong hibiscus concentrate which I then store in the refrigerator. It is basically a stronger version of hibiscus tea. Then it’s easy to make the ice tea by just using some of the concentrate and adding cold water and ice.
How to Make Hibiscus Concentrate
Here are instructions for making about 30 oz (1 liter) of hibiscus concentrate:
- 2 cups (500 ml) of fresh hibiscus flowers (or 8 tablespoons of dried hibiscus flowers)
- 4 cups of water (1 liter)
- 1 cup of sugar (250 ml)
- 1 inch of cinnamon stick (crushed)
- 1/2 inch of fresh ginger (peeled and sliced)
How to make hibiscus concentrate:
- Pour the water into a pot and add the hibiscus flower and sugar. Add the optional ingredients, if you are using them.
- Bring to boil, cover, and let it simmer with low heat for 10 minutes.
- Take off from the stove and let it cool down for a while.
- Pour into a pitcher through a strainer, let it cool down until it’s not hot anymore, and store in the refrigerator.
Agua de Jamaica
Now that you have your refrigerated hibiscus concentrate, it’s very easy to make a glass of refreshing iced hibiscus tea:
- Take a big glass and add a generous amount of ice.
- Pour half full of the hibiscus concentrate and add a dash of lime juice.
- Add some cold water until the glass is full. You can also use soda water to make a bubbling hibiscus ice-tea.
- Enjoy your tea! Drink with a straw to protect your teeth from the acidity of the hibiscus tea (avoid using plastic straws if possible).
You can adjust the amount of concentrate according to your preference. If you feel the iced tea is too strong, try adding less concentrate and more water and ice.
Cold Brew Hibiscus Tea
You can also make your hibiscus ice-tea by cold brewing it. This takes a longer time than making the concentrate but it’s also easier.
This is how to make 50 oz (1,5 liters) of cold-brewed hibiscus tea:
- Put 4 tablespoons of dried hibiscus flower and 50 oz of water in a pitcher.
- Leave it into the refrigerator overnight.
- Add some lemon or lime juice.
- Pour into glasses through a strainer.
Hibiscus Gin and Tonic Cocktail
Gin and tonic is one of my favorite cocktails, and I like to experiment with making different versions of it. Hibiscus gin and tonic is a nice looking and refreshing cocktail, that is easy to make. Surprise your spouse with this stunning and delicious drink, or serve it at a party to welcome your guests!
Ingredients for one cocktail:
- 1.5 oz (4 ml) gin
- 1.5 oz (4 ml) of hibiscus concentrate (see preparing instructions above)
- half a tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 thin lemon slices (optional)
- tonic water
- crushed ice
How to make it:
- Take a cocktail glass (about 10 oz or 300 ml) and put it into the freezer before starting.
- Fill the cold glass with crushed ice.
- Pour in the gin and lemon juice. Then add tonic water so that the glass in almost full. Top with the hibiscus concentrate so that it forms a nice looking layer on the top.
- You can use lemon slices to decorate the cocktail.
- Enjoy your hibiscus gin and tonic in a good company!
Try the Different Ways to Make Hibiscus Tea
Now you know how to make many different types of hibiscus beverages, and it’s time to try them out to find your favorite. Iced hibiscus tea with ginger, cinnamon, honey and a dash of lime juice, is something I recommend for a hot summer day. Whereas during the wintertime after a workday, it’s nice to relax with a cup of hot hibiscus tea.
After you try these recipes, post a comment below and tell me how you liked them. Also, if you have your own recipe or any other experience or question related to hibiscus tea, don’t hesitate to share it!