Hibiscus Tea (Jamaica Drink)

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Hibiscus tea (also known as Jamaica drink) is a refreshing tea made from hibiscus flowers. It’s totally refreshing on a hot summer day and it’s even purported to have health benefits.

Hibiscus tea is caffeine-free and it bears no resemblance to black tea. So, just what is hibiscus tea?

A glass of iced hibiscus tea garnished with lemon

What is Hibiscus Tea?

Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea made from hibiscus flowers.

You can make pure hibiscus tea from the flowers alone (usually with added sugar). But, you will also find hibiscus mixed in with many tea blends.

What Does Hibiscus Tea Taste Like?

Hibiscus tea has such a complex flavor that first time tasters will be surprised to discover that it is only dried hibiscus flowers and sugar steeped in water. The taste is familiar, but distinctly different: part citrus, part grape, possibly pomegranate, and a big dose of your garden when a soft breeze blows by.

Why is it Called Jamaica Drink?

Hibiscus Tea 01

One of the most common names that you’ll hear for hibiscus tea is jamaica drink. This is what it is called in Mexico. As best as I can tell, this is not because of any connection to Jamaica, but rather because the hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is called jamaica (pronounced hah-MY-cah) in Mexico and all over Central America and South America.

Hibiscus tea, however, is popular all over the world and goes by many different names. These include:

  • agua de Jamaica
  • sorrel tea
  • karkade
  • roselle tea
  • bissup tea

How to Serve Hibiscus Tea

Traditionally, hibiscus tea is served over ice with lots of sugar.

Two glasses of iced hibiscus tea garnished with lemon
As I detail in the recipe, however, you can adjust the sugar to taste or leave it off entirely.

You can also try serving it hot on cold day. I like it both hot and cold.

What Are the Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea?

Some studies have shown that hibiscus tea helps with:

  • weight loss
  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing blood sugar levels
  • liver health
  • menstrual cramps
  • depression
  • digestion

What Do You Need to Make Hibiscus Tea?

package of hibiscus tea

To make hibiscus tea, you’ll need hibiscus flowers. You can typically find dried hibiscus flowers in a Mexican grocery store or online under the name of hibiscus flor de Jamaica [paid link].

If you are looking for an organic option, you may need to look online. Tealyra [paid link] sells a highly rated one.

If you happen to be growing a hibiscus plant, you can also make a tea using the petals of the flower. There are many varieties of hibiscus, so not all varieties will taste the same. Also known as roselle, red sorrel, and flor de Jamaica, Hibiscus sabdariffa is the hibiscus most commonly used for tea.

How to Make Hibiscus Tea

In a large saucepan on high heat, bring hibiscus flowers, water, and sugar to a boil. You can adjust the amount of sugar depending on how sweet you like your drinks.

Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Essentially, you are creating a hibiscus concentrate.

Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature.

Using a colander, strain out the hibiscus flowers. Don’t throw the flowers away! Save them to make candied hibiscus flowers.

Hibiscus Tea 02

Add more water to turn the concentrate into a less potent and more drinkable hibiscus tea.

Stir and chill. Serve over ice.

Hibiscus Tea Variations

Some fun twists on hibiscus tea are:

Other Uses for Jamaica Flowers

After brewing the tea, you can use the flowers to make candied hibiscus flowers. Candied hibiscus flowers are sweet and super crunchy. They are like eating sugary floral crackers.

Candied Hibiscus

You can also use the dried flowers to make pink frosting or other desserts. To do so, steep the flowers in melted butter instead of water, let the butter chill, and use the butter as you would in your normal recipe. Follow my instructions on baking with tea for more detail on this.
Pink frosting from hibiscus

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review!
A glass of iced hibiscus tea garnished with lemon
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4 from 2 votes

Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea is a simple, refreshing, and healthy herbal tea.
Course Drinks
Cuisine American, Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 94kcal
Author Stefani



  • In a large saucepan on high heat, bring hibiscus flowers, 4 cups of water, and sugar to a boil.
  • Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Using a colander, strain out the hibiscus flowers. Don't throw the flowers away! Save them to make candied hibiscus flowers.
  • Add the remaining four cups of water.
  • Stir and chill.
  • Serve over ice.


If you are using fresh hibiscus flowers, be sure to clean them well and use the petals only. Use 8 cups of them loosely packed to make the same amount of tea.
If you prefer sweeter beverages, you can add another 1/4 cup of sugar. You can also leave the sugar off entirely if you prefer a more tart flavor.
Try adding cinnamon or ginger for a fun twist.
You can also add club soda instead of the water at the end of the recipe to make a fizzy version.


Calories: 94kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 14mg | Potassium: 5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 5mg
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  1. Gregory Womacksays:

    I was introduced ti this tea by a good friend of mine from the islands and have been in love with it every since. I purchased some hibiscus flowers to try my hand at making this delicious beverage. Can honey be used in place of the sugar?

  2. Darlene MacQuarriesays:

    5 stars
    I really love this juice. It is very refreshing and a perfect summer drink.

  3. Ninette J.G. Birdsays:

    I am from the Caribbean and this is a Traditional drink made at Christmas, except its made and left to ferment and rum is also added . Its served with the Local Black Cake of Christmas Cake . For the adults try adding some rum to it and let it age for at least 2-3 months in a dark place. Strain and add at least 1-2 cups sugar or to taste, as the sugar helps in the fermenting , its served over ice .

  4. Dionnesays:

    I absolutely adore your web site. This article in particular is near & dear to my heart. The item you call “Hibiscus” is actually named Sorrel here in my Caribbean island of Trinidad. There is the red & even a white variety. It’s used to make jam & our National Christmas Sorrel drink for the holidays. Would love to see you come up with a cake and frosting recipe using it. Great job on all of your creations, they really are inspirational.

  5. Anonymoussays:

    I feel like I’m a little late on the pickup, but just in case someone else stumbles upon this awesome recipe…

    One: though tantalizingly delicious, be careful drinking too much…let’s just say that it naturally has properties to help you have to run to the bathroom. Haha

    Two: the addition of lime cinnamon and clove gives this unique drink an amazing twist. I put lime juice in to taste after it’s brewed, but steep 2-3 cloves and about tbsp of cinnamon or to taste. Also this tea is great hot or cold. C’est Parfait!

  6. Rubysays:

    Well yes he does! I’ll amend the by-line to add him in. :-)

  7. Rubysays:

    Hi – What a great post and a gorgeous shot of those dried flowers! I chose it as my Weekly WOW! – please head over and check it out. If you choose to, you can now display the Weekly WOW! winners’ badge. You’ll find it on my Blogga Bling page. Cheers!

  8. lostpastrememberedsays:

    I just love your hibiscus photo… like a sculpture… really special, thanks!

  9. tagalongsays:

    Hibiscus tea is very popular in hot countries like Thailand because it cools the body. Thanks for the recipe

  10. Darling Daniasays:

    This is one of my favorite drinks. If you’re ever in a Latin American restaurant, you will see it on the menu as Jamiaca (pronounced ha-mai-ka), FYI.

  11. Mimisays:

    It looks so refreshing.

  12. Susansays:

    Interesting and original. Thank you.

  13. Paulasays:

    here is so many inspirations!

    have a nice time!

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