Hibiscus tea might be one of the prettiest beverages in the world. Its deep, ruby-red color is extremely inviting and people around the world are drawn to it. Not to mention the incredible taste and the fact that this tea pairs wonderfully with other ingredients that elevate its flavors and aroma. However, despite how wonderful of a beverage this is, hibiscus tea is still relatively unknown to a lot of people. To many, it is an indispensable refreshment during the hot summer days, to others, it is yet another drink that is popular on social media.
Nevertheless, hibiscus tea is gaining attention for not only its popularity among social media influencers, exceptional taste, and aroma, but also for its medicinal properties. Hibiscus tea is a great way to stay hydrated, aid weight loss, fight off any inflammations in your body and even treat diseases like heart disease or even cancer. So, if you were not convinced to drink this tea at least for its wonderful appearance and flavor, you might change your mind when you see how beneficial the drink is. So, in the following paragraphs, we are going to tackle several famous recipes when it comes to making hibiscus tea.
What is Hibiscus Tea?
Hibiscus tea is a refreshing and incredibly healthy beverage made from the Hibiscus or Roselle flowers/petals. It is made from a specific variety of hibiscus, known as Hibiscus Sabdariffa, also known as the Hibiscus tea plant. The plant has wonderful appearing flowers, usually of red color, which are of course safe for human consumption. The beautiful flowers are harvested when they are soft before they’re dried and seedless. It is important to point out that hibiscus beverage is actually made from the calyx, which is the outermost and the reddest flower part.
Hibiscus flowers are not only used to make beverages; they can also be utilized in commercial production of jam, different types of sauces, candy or jelly. The flowers can also be used as wonderful decoration in culinary arts, as an ingredient to actual food as well as a wonderful addition to alcoholic beverages, like champagne. Hibiscus is nowadays a common addition to different medicinal supplements, especially teas intended for weight loss and immune-boosting. The tea, however, is the most common application of this plant.
Where and How to Choose Hibiscus for Tea?
In order to make the beverage, you will, of course, need some hibiscus, or Roselle flowers. This would, however, be based on your personal preferences; for example, you can buy loose leaf hibiscus flower or hibiscus in tea bags. Or, you can buy the tea in a local herb or tea shop, or online. Here’s how to choose;
- Loose-leaf hibiscus – in this form, you will get whole, dried hibiscus flowers. If you decide to choose this form of hibiscus, you will have to alter your preparation process, as it usually goes with loose leaf beverages. However, to use dried, whole leaves is a much better choice when it comes to the quality and overall taste, aroma, flavor and of course, the amount of medicinal and healthy components that are being released from the leaves.
- Tea bags – when buying hibiscus tea in bags, you should know that the quality and the flavors will definitely be lower when compared to the loose-leaf form. Tea bags usually contain small pieces and parts of hibiscus flowers or leaves, which are basically leftovers from the loose-leaf. However, these can also be put to use. You won’t be preparing your regular hibiscus beverage using tea bags, but in case you need hibiscus tea as an ingredient in a recipe, then feel free to go with the bagged tea.
- Buying local – sometimes your local tea shops won’t have hibiscus flowers on their own, but rather as a blend in other teas. So, if that is the case and you still want to buy local, make sure to visit local garden centers. There you will surely find different varieties of hibiscus, so make sure to consult and ask for the variety that is edible and safe for consumption. From there on, you will have to harvest your own flowers and dry them before making tea.
- Buying online – when buying tea online, things can get a bit tricky. You don’t really know what you might get and whether the quality is really good. That is why it is important to shop for tea at recognizable and established online shops. Here are some examples where you can order your hibiscus tea from; Rishi, Arbor Teas, Good and Proper Tea, The Tea Spot, etc. Just make sure, wherever you decide to buy from, that the tea is organic, that it has a checked and legit origin, and of course, that it is high in quality.
Plain Hibiscus Tea Recipe (Hot Water Infusion)
To make one cup of plain hibiscus tea, you will need only a few ingredients;
- 1 ½ teaspoon of loose-leaf dried hibiscus flowers (for plain beverages we don’t recommend tea bags),
- 1 cup of water,
- Optional; sweeteners (we recommend raw honey or agave syrup).
Note: if you want to make more of the tea, for every additional 1 ½ teaspoons of the loose-leaves, you will add one cup of water. If you want your cup of tea to be stronger, you can surely add 2 teaspoons of the loose-leaves per 1 cup of water.
How to make Plain Hibiscus Tea(Hot Water Infusion)?
- First, you will make sure that the designated kettle you’ll be using is warmed up. You will do this by putting some hot water in it and swirl it around. Make sure to discard the water before adding the leaves.
- Then, to the kettle, you will add the hibiscus loose-leaves.
- Using an electric kettle, or a saucepan, you will soft boil the water for the tea. Make sure to soft boil it, letting the water reach the temperature of 208°F or 97°C. This will surely affect the way the tea is being infused and the amount of flavor it releases.
- Let everything steep for around 5 minutes. If you want your tea stronger, let it steep for around 8 minutes. However, you don’t have to worry about the steeping time; hibiscus beverage is no green tea, and it is very forgiving.
- Once done steeping, strain the tea into a serving cup.
- Add sweeteners to your personal preference; we recommend raw honey or agave syrup as they will ensure the beverage remains healthy.
Plain Hibiscus Tea Recipe (Cold Water Infusion)
To make 1 and a half liter or 50oz of cold-brewed hibiscus drink, you will need the following ingredients;
- Approximately 1 cup of loose leaf, dried hibiscus flowers (for this recipe you can also use tea bags; we recommend you use 4 tea bags per 50oz of water),
- 50oz, or 1 ½ liter of cold water,
- Optional; sweetener (we, of course, recommend raw honey or agave syrup, as they pair perfectly with the taste of hibiscus).
How to make Hibiscus Tea (Cold Water Infusion)?
- To a pitcher, add the dried hibiscus flowers and the cold water.
- You can add the sweetener right at the beginning, or after the brewing is done.
- Cover the pitcher and place it in the fridge. Let everything brew and chill for a maximum of 24 hours.
- We don’t recommend you brew the hibiscus leaves longer, as they can go from sweet to bitter, and potentially start releasing toxic compounds.
- Once everything is brewed, and it has released the beautiful, ruby-red color, it is time to serve. At this point you can also add more honey, only make sure to stir everything thoroughly.
- Pour the mixture (removing the leaves, or the tea bags), into serving cups, with ice cubes, and enjoy.
Agua De Jamaica Hibiscus Tea Recipe
For this wonderful variation of cold-brewed tea, you will need several of the following ingredients;
- 1 cup of loose-leaf, dried hibiscus flowers (you can also use tea bags, but for the sake of authenticity of the taste, we recommend you use loose leaves),
- 8 cups of water (60 oz, or 2 liters),
- ¾ to 1 cup of granulated sugar,
- ½ cinnamon stick,
- Sliced or chopped ginger (only a few slices, so it doesn’t overwhelm the taste of hibiscus and other ingredients),
- Fruits (berries, for example, but this is completely optional),
- Juice of a lime, lemon or orange (this is also optional, according to personal taste preferences),
- Lime, lemon or orange peel/slices for garnish.
How to make Agua De Jamaica Hibiscus Tea?
- To a saucepan, add sugar and 4 cups of water. Also add slices of ginger, and fruits, which is an optional step.
- Heat everything up until boiling, and then simmer until the sugar has dissolved completely.
- Remove the saucepan from the stove, and add the dried hibiscus flowers.
- Cover the mixture and let it sit for around 20 minutes.
- Once everything has brewed nicely, make sure to strain the mixture into a pitcher. Discard the solid ingredients, including the hibiscus flowers.
- Cover the pitcher and let the mixture cool down.
- At this point, you can store the tea in the refrigerator, or somewhere chilled. Don’t let the beverage store for more than 24 hours.
- After everything has been chilled, it is time to serve the drink.
- Before serving, make sure to add the remaining 4 cups of water to the mixture. You can also add more of the sweetener, ice cubes or crushed ice.
- Serve with slices of orange/lime/lemon.
Note: to make this drink into margaritas, make sure to add 2oz of tequila into the mixture, alongside agave nectar and additional sweeteners and ice cubes. You can easily dilute the mixture with additional water if too strong.
More Hibiscus Tea Tips and Tricks
In order to make the best hibiscus tea ever, you might want to try out our following tips and tricks;
- We always recommend you use loose-leaves instead of tea bags. As mentioned before, you will get an incredible flavor and higher quality of the hibiscus. This is also important in regards to the medicinal components of the flowers; with loose-leaf, you will get more antioxidants released into your beverage.
- When making regular, hot water brew, make sure to use glass kettles. You will not only be able to see the process of infusions, the wonderful red color, but the glass also helps the tea brew better.
- Make sure not to overstep your hibiscus tea. Sure, it is forgiving when steeped in hot water, but when it comes to cold brew, it should not steep more than 24 hours. After this timeframe, the leaves will start releasing toxic components that can harm your digestion and liver.
- To your hot water brew, you can also add a variety of other ingredients; you can try adding cinnamon sticks, dried ginger, peppercorns, dried fruits (like persimmons), cloves, turmeric, as well as other types of tea or herbs, like black tea.
More: Hibiscus Tea Side Effects
Hibiscus tea is definitely a drink you need to try. It is incredibly refreshing, has an exceptional taste and can be super good for your metabolism, immune system and overall health. It is extremely easy to make and is surely a perfect drink to serve at a social gathering with family or friends. So, if you want to blow everyone’s mind by serving an amazing drink, or you want to enjoy it alone while watching a movie or reading a book, hibiscus tea is for you. Do something good for yourself, your mind and body and try it out.