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Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

Agua de Jamaica, otherwise known as hibiscus tea, is a refreshing Mexican drink that is both sweet and tart! Learn how to make this easy agua fresca drink recipe that is also popular in the Caribbean and Latin America.

a pitcher of hibiscus tea

Making homemade juices is a fun process for kids and a much better alternative to buying the bottled stuff which is generally really high in sugar.

It only takes a few simple ingredients to make a refreshing mocktail type drink that is easy to customize to your tastes.

Agua de Jamaica (ha-my-ka), or hibiscus water in English, is traditionally served in Mexico very sweet, something similar to Southern Sweet Tea. For my version, I’ve used less sugar and added fresh fruit slices along with a little cinnamon for extra flavor.

a glass of juice next to a pitcher and a hibiscus flower

Versions of this drink can be found in other areas of the world as well. In the Caribbean it’s known as sorrel, in Africa you can find variations of hibiscus tea, and even in some areas of Europe it’s common as well.

You could have a drink bar with this, Horchata, and other agua frescas or even some Sangria mocktail for plenty of refreshing options.

Feel free to serve this up with any dishes you want, like this Pressure Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Rice.

Want to make more Latin American recipes? Get my resource guide on Latin America for more recipes and ways to explore Latin American culture.

ingredients to make agua de jamaica

Ingredients

  • dried hibiscus flowers
  • granulated sugar
  • water
  • cinnamon sticks
  • orange
  • lemon

Possible substitutions

You can replace the orange and lemon with lime, or any combination of those three.

Besides cinnamon sticks, you could also add sliced ginger, or do just ginger on it’s own.

Feel free to experiment with adding different sliced fruits or using fruit juices in place of the sugar and water. Have fun with it!

Recipes to serve with this

process of making the agua fresca

How to make this

  1. In a large liquid measuring cup or french press, add dried hibiscus and then pour in 2 cups of boiling water. Allow to steep for at least 5 minutes.
  2. Carefully strain out the hibiscus and pour the concentrate into a large pitcher. Add 6 cups cold water.
  3. Add sugar and stir. Then add cinnamon sticks, orange and lemon slices.
  4. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours before serving over ice.
  5. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge without the citrus slices for up to 3-4 days.

Helpful tools

A tea strainer or french press makes it easier to strain off the hibiscus leaves from the water.

A long wooden spoon can also be helpful when stirring in a pitcher.

Can I make this ahead?

If you are making this for a party and need a large batch, I would make up the concentrate and store that in the fridge rather than making up the juice. This way it takes up less space in the fridge.

Wait to add the fruits until you are ready to serve it. If the citrus fruits sit too long in the juice it can start to turn bitter.

Can I reuse the fruits?

When you’ve finished off the pitcher of juice refill the pitcher with plain water, or sparkling water, for a wonderful infused water.

citrus slices in a pitcher with the juice

Top Tips

A french press is super handy for steeping and straining but you could also easily strain the dried hibiscus out by using a mesh strainer.

Make sure you wear an apron when making this! The hibiscus water is a deep color and it can stain a little.

You can serve this up warm in the winter (yum!) or over ice in the summer.

How can kids help make this?

  • Older kids can help with the making of the concentrate but I would not recommend allowing younger children to help with the boiling water.
  • Younger children can help by:
    • pouring the cold water into the concentrate
    • adding the sugar and stirring
    • finishing it off with the fruit slices

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Recipe

a pitcher of hibiscus tea

Agua De Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

Agua de Jamaica, otherwise known as Hibiscus Tea, is a refreshing agua fresca served in Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 66kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1 lemon sliced

Instructions

  • In a large cup, bowl, or French press, add dried hibiscus and then pour in boiling water. Allow to steep for at least 5 minutes.
  • Carefully strain out the hibiscus and pour the concentrate into a large pitcher.
  • Next add 6 cups cold water and sugar to the pitcher. Stir well.
  • Then add cinnamon sticks, orange and lemon slices. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours before serving over ice.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge without the citrus slices and cinnamon sticks for up to 3-4 days.

Notes

  • You can replace the orange and lemon with lime, or any combination of those three.
  • Besides cinnamon sticks, you could also add sliced ginger, or do just ginger on it’s own.
  • A french press is super handy for steeping and straining but you could also easily strain the dried hibiscus out by using a mesh strainer.
  • Make sure you wear an apron when making this! The hibiscus water is a deep color and it can stain a little.

Nutrition

Calories: 66kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 13mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 66IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
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