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Hibiscus Tea (Jamaica Drink)

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

glass of hibiscus tea

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

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.

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.

If you are looking for an organic option, you may need to look online. Teelyra 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

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Hibiscus Tea
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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
Keyword hibiscus, hibiscus tea, jamacia drink
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 94kcal
Author Stef



  • 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.


Nutrition Facts
Hibiscus Tea
Amount Per Serving
Calories 94 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 14mg1%
Potassium 5mg0%
Carbohydrates 23g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 175IU4%
Vitamin C 11mg13%
Calcium 8mg1%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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