Hibiscus Tea, or Agua de Jamaica

Hibiscus Tea, or Agua de Jamaica

Well, I am not enjoying those beautiful sunny days… I have been battling a nasty ear infection and therefore I’m stuck at home… Although, when leaving the pharmacy for my antibiotics prescription, I couldn’t resist visiting my favorite speciality food store; Galloway’s. And as usual, starting to browse through the shelves, with no idea in mind of what to buy. I don’t even feel like cooking… What??? Yep… It hurt…

But then I saw a bag of dried Hibiscus flowers, and reminded me when my mom was coming back from Egypt (she went at least 3 times touristing), she would always bring some home. It is a flower, but when infused, it taste tangy, kind of like cranberry juice. And the reddish color is so beautiful! Anyway, I haven’t drink this in over a decade, and I remembered that it is supposed to be high in vitamin C. Sold!

When back home, doing a bit of web research, I found out that this tea is also a natural diuretic recommended in weight loss diet. There’s also at least one government study that shows that hibiscus tea lowers blood pressure. Good huh?

I also found that in California, this tea is prepared with some spices; ginger, cinnamon, all spices… and is also called “Agua de Jamaica”, so that’s what I tried today…

At least it’s easy, refreshing, and it is good for my poor health 😦

Even not sick, you will for sure enjoy this on a hot summer day, or serve it at a BBQ instead of usual cranberry juice. You can substitute sugar for Stevia for a no-carb version!

Enjoy, and don’t do like me: dry your ears carefully when coming out of the pool, mostly if it’s windy, trust me…

Ingredients (8 cups)

  • 2 quarts water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar or other sweetener (I used Stevia)
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • A few thin slices ginger
  • 1/2 sliced and grated vanilla bean
  • Lime juice
  • Orange or lime slices for garnish


  • Put 4 cups of the water and the sugar in a medium saucepan (if using Stevia, do not add before cooking, but after straining the tea). Add cinnamon, ginger slices, and vanilla. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in the dried hibiscus flowers.
  • Cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and vanilla bean.
  • At this point you can store ahead the concentrate, chilled, until ready to make the drink.
  • Add remaining 4 cups of water (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.
  • Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime.

Find the easy to share, e-mail, print recipe on my Recipage.

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4 thoughts on “Hibiscus Tea, or Agua de Jamaica

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