Herbal teas have gained a huge following in the past few decades. Still, floral teas are seeing a revival since their inclusion in many high-end restaurant offerings and competitive cooking shows. Hibiscus tea is one of the most popular floral teas in the culinary limelight due to its alluring flavor and bright, unusual color.
Hibiscus tea is a floral tea made from infusing the flowers of a mallow plant in hot water to create a deep crimson-colored drink. Hibiscus tea is cultivated and drunk on several continents including Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. Hibiscus tea has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Hibiscus tea may look and taste exotic, but it’s simple to find and prepare if you know how. Read on to learn more about hibiscus tea and how you can make a pitcher of your own.
What Is Hibiscus Tea?
Hibiscus tea has been consumed across the world in both hot and cold forms, but it is popularly consumed in warm countries sweetened and chilled or poured over ice to help sweeten juice extracts.
One of the major advantages of hibiscus tea over other types of herbal tea is that it’s made of flower petals. Depending on the variety of hibiscus used to create the tea, the final steeped product can range in color from cranberry red to a dark magenta purple.
Unlike black and green teas, which are often drunk by themselves, hibiscus tea is popularly included as a component in a tea mixture. Other ingredients that are often included in hibiscus-based teas include the following:
- Plum spice: Plum spice herbal tea includes the flavors of plums, ginger, and cardamom. These teas often incorporate hibiscus to help sweeten the deal.
- Rose hips: Dried rose hips are incorporated into hibiscus teas to help deepen their rich red color and add another floral flavor.
- Goji berries: Also known as wolfberries, goji berries are bright-orange berries native to China that contain many different vital nutrients and minerals.
- Chamomile: Chamomile is a grassy, mild herbal tea commonly drunk to remedy anxiety and poor digestion. Adding sweet hibiscus to chamomile tea can help curb some of its more bitter flavors.
The flavor of hibiscus pairs well with many different other herbal teas, which makes it a great complementary flavor if you’re trying to come up with a custom mix that suits you.
Where Is Hibiscus Tea From?
The roselle hibiscus that popularized hibiscus tea worldwide first originated in North Africa, where it can be found commonly in dried form at open air markets.
What Does Hibiscus Tea Taste Like?
For tea enthusiasts who may be worried that hibiscus has a cloying or perfumey flavor, you’ll be happy to know that hibiscus tea actually has a more fruity and tart flavor. This flavor is more often compared to cranberries than other flowers.
The fruity flavor of hibiscus tea makes it a good match for the following flavor profiles:
- Citrus: Bright zesty flavors like orange and lemon help give an acid note to hibiscus tea and make it taste more mellow rather than sweet. A slice of yellow lemon also looks beautiful floating on the top of a cup of red hibiscus tea.
- Ginger: Ginger has a strong flavor best paired with other flavors to help calm it. Hibiscus helps tone down the zesty nature of ginger, while ginger helps keep hibiscus from tasting too tart.
- Berries: Since hibiscus already has a berry-like flavor, it pairs beautifully with other dried berry tea mixtures such as raspberry and blackberry.
Even if you’re not initially a fan of hibiscus tea by itself, try mixing it with some add-ins. Chances are you’ll be able to find a combination of flavors you enjoy together.
Is Hibiscus Tea Good for You?
While there haven’t been many serious medical studies done on the properties of hibiscus tea, this drink has been ingested for centuries to aid with several different medical conditions. Here are just a few of the benefits of drinking hibiscus tea:
- Lower blood pressure: Hibiscus tea is commonly prescribed as a holistic supplement for those experiencing high blood pressure since it has been shown to help lower blood pressure if you drink it regularly.
- Weight loss aid: Hibiscus tea helps lower blood fat levels and make it easier for people to lose weight consistently.
- Promotes a healthy liver: In studies, hibiscus extract has been shown to reduce the level of toxins in your liver, which can lead to a healthier liver over time.
Is It Safe to Drink Hibiscus Tea Every Day?
Hibiscus tea is generally considered safe to drink in moderate amounts since the hibiscus flower is not harmful to humans and has been shown to have many positive qualities. However, hibiscus is also regularly mixed in with many supplement mixtures which may or may not be safe depending on what other ingredients are included.
Whenever you drink an herbal tea or supplement that includes hibiscus, you should also carefully research any other ingredients involved to make sure that you’re not taking something in excess or something that might interact with other medications you’re taking.
Can You Grow Hibiscus Tea?
One of the major advantages of drinking hibiscus tea is that you can easily grow hibiscus in many areas of the world, especially during the warmer months of the year. While these tropical plants may need to be brought indoors over the winter, in spring and summer they should be full of flowers that you can use to dry and create hibiscus tea mixtures.
Gardeners and tea drinkers should note that it takes three to four hibiscus flowers per cup of tea to make hibiscus tea, so you’ll need to purchase and maintain several hibiscus shrubs to have enough flowers if you want to drink hibiscus tea regularly.
Hibiscus Tea Is the Perfect Tropical Treat
Whether you prefer to drink this bright red tea hot or cold, hibiscus tea is a great way to add some vibrant color and flavor to your tea cabinet. Not only is it delicious when mixed with many different other flavors, it has benefits for your health too. Try making a pitcher for yourself to see what all the fuss is about!