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This refreshing Agua de Jamaica or Hibiscus Tea is a popular Mexican drink. Made from dried hibiscus flowers this cold drink has a sweet and tart flavor and is ready in less than 20 minutes!
What is Agua de Jamaica?
Agua de Jamaica is Spanish for “Hibiscus Water” and refers to a water drink made with an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers. In Spanish it is pronounced “Hah-mike-uh”, not like we would pronounce the island of Jamaica in English. Agua frescas or “fresh waters” are popular, refreshing Mexican drinks that are infused waters, usually made with fruits.
Agua de Jamaica is one of the most popular flavors. The hibiscus flowers have a sweet, tart flavoring similar to cranberries which balances out nicely with the sugar and lime juice.
- Dried Hibiscus flowers
- Sugar: can use other sweetener of choice if desired, some other options include piloncillo, or agave.
- Lime: optional ingredient, but gives a nice fresh citrus flavoring to the drink.
Where to find Hibiscus flowers for tea
The hibiscus sabdariffa flower, or Roselle grows in tropical or subtropical climates. You can find dried hibiscus flowers several places:
- Specialty tea shops
- Mexican markets or stores
- Online markets
How to Make
- Combine the water and sugar in a medium size saucepan. Bring this just to a boil while stirring until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Remove from the heat and add the dried hibiscus and allow the flowers to steep in the hot water for at least 15 minutes.
- Strain this mixture into a large pitcher and discard the flowers.
- Add the remaining water and lime juice. Stir together and taste, adjust by adding more lime juice as desired.
Tips & Variations
- Sweet or Tart: depending on your preference you may want to use less or more sugar. The more sugar added, the sweeter the drink overall and the less tartness comes through.
- Staining: hibiscus tends to stain. Be careful in preparing this drink. If your counters are porous be sure to strain in the sink to avoid stains. Always use stainless steel spoons for stirring. And store the drink in a glass container since plastic will stain.
- Concentrate: if you would rather prepare one glass at a time, store the concentrate and mix the tea with additional water as desired. The concentrate is the first steps of the recipe of boiling the flowers and letting steep. After straining, this concentrate can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Then pour some concentrate and top with water as desired to serve.
- Spices: add a cinnamon stick to the tea while the flowers are steeping.
The traditional Mexican drink of agua de Jamaica, or hibiscus tea is referred to as Jamaica in reference to the flowers used to the drink. The Hibiscus was initially brought to Mexico from the island of Jamaica. Again, the name of the drink is pronounced “Hah-mike-uh” not as we would pronounce the name of the island of Jamaica in English.
The hibiscus tea has a sweet, tart floral flavoring. The taste is most similar to cranberries.
More Refreshing Drink Recipes
- Agua Fresca (Basic Recipe for using any fruit!)
- Agua de Fresas con crema (Creamy Strawberry Agua)
- Southern Sweet Tea
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)
- 8 cups water divided
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- Pour water into a medium size saucepan.
- Add the sugar and stir to combine.
- Heat over medium heat until water just begins to boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar completely dissolves.
- Remove from heat and add the dried hibiscus, stir to coat in the water. Let this sit and steep for at least 15 minutes.
- Pour hibiscus tea through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher, discarding the flowers.
- Add the remaining water to the pitcher, then add in the lime juice, stir and taste. Adjust lime juice to taste.
- Serve cold over ice. Garnish with mint and lime as desired.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.