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How to Make Hibiscus Tea: Easy Recipe

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 calyces of the roselle flower (Hibiscus sabdariffa) 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 also have many health benefits. 

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 tea and iced tea forms, but it is popularly consumed in warm countries sweetened and chilled or poured over ice to help sweeten juice extracts. 

Popular in Mexican markets and taquerias, when served iced as an agua fresca, it’s also called agua de Jamaica, which translates to “hibiscus water”.

One of the major advantages of hibiscus tea over other types of herbal tea is that it’s made of hibiscus 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. 

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.  This flowering plant grows flourishes in warm and tropical regions around the world.

What Does Hibiscus Tea Taste Like?

For tea enthusiasts who may be worried that hibiscus has a cloying or perfumed flavor, you’ll be happy to know that hibiscus tea actually has a more fruity and tart flavor. Not only does this herbal tisane, look like cranberry juice, it has a similar tart taste as well.

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. Try a squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice
  • 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. 

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dried hibiscus tea in a glass jar on a wood counter
If you have a hibiscus bush, you can harvest and dry the flowers easily.

Other Names for Hibiscus Tea

This herbal tisane is a popular drink around the world, so it’s not surprising that it goes by many different names:

  • Agua de Jamaica (Latin America)
  • Agua de flor de Jamaica (Latin America)
  • Rosa de Jamaica (Latin America)
  • Jamaica tea (Latin America)
  • Saril (Panama)
  • Sorrel (Caribbean)
  • Bissap (Senegal)
  • Sobolo (Ghana)
  • Zobo (Nigeria)
  • Karkade tea (North Africa)
  • Grajeab (Thailand)
  • Cardade (Italy)

What goes well with hibiscus?

Unlike black tea and green tea, 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. 
  • Red Zinger Tea: A popular blend of hibiscus leaves, peppermint, sweet orange, lemongrass and wild cherry bark.

Celestial Seasonings Herbal Tea, Red Zinger, 20 Count

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. 

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 hibiscus tea benefits

  • 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 low 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. 
  • High in Vitamin C: Hibiscus tea is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, beta-carotene, and anthocyanin.
  • Regulates blood sugar levels: Studies have shown a link between hibiscus and healthier blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

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. There are many easy to grow species of the hibiscus bush you can find in any nursery or garden center.

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 several hibiscus shrubs will provide enough flowers if you want to drink hibiscus tea regularly. 

You can also harvest and dry hibiscus blooms to use anytime. Here’s how to dry hibiscus flowers for tea.

Organic Hibiscus Flowers | Loose Tea (200+ Cups) | Cut & Sifted | 16oz/453g Resealable Kraft Bag |100% Raw From Egypt | by FGO

Hibiscus Tea Recipe

It’s possible to make this refreshing drink with the bright red color with either fresh hibiscus flowers or dried flowers. Hibiscus flower tea can be made from hibiscus tea bags, but since it’s so easy to make it from scratch that’s what I like to do.

Here’s what you need to make a hot cup of hibiscus tea. You can drink it right away, or allow it to cool to room temperature and serve over ice cubes. This is my favorite way to make hibiscus tea – adding sweetener and a splash of citrus is optional.

Hibiscus Tea Ingredients

  • Dried or fresh hibiscus flowers
  • Water
  • Sweetener of your choice (simple syrup, brown sugar syrup, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup….)
  • Citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange)

Steps to making the Best Hibiscus Tea

  1. If using fresh hibiscus flowers, carefully pluck off the colorful outer petals. Discard the green part of the flower and the center. You’ll need 3 – 4 flowers for each cup. If using dried, cut, and sifted hibiscus purchased online or at your local grocery store, you’ll need a heaping teaspoon per cup.
  2. Place 1 1/2 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in fresh or dried hibiscus flowers. Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain into a mug and add sweetener and citrus juice of your choice.
  5. Serve immediately hot, or cool and pour over ice for a refreshing treat on a hot day!

Warning: Hibiscus tea will stain your clothing, so be careful when pouring!

hibiscus iced tea recipe

Hibiscus Tea Recipe

Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This tart, vibrantly colored herbal tea is healthy and delicious both cold or iced. Add your favorite sweetener and a splash of citrus!


  • Hibiscus: 3-4 fresh hibiscus flowers, or 1 heaping teaspoon dried, cut, and sifted petals
  • 1 ½ cups Water
  • 1 Tb simple syrup
  • 1 Tb lime juice


  1. If using fresh hibiscus flowers, carefully pluck off the colorful outer petals. Discard the green part of the flower and the center.
  2. Place 1½ cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in fresh or dried hibiscus. Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain into a mug and add sweetener and citrus juice of your choice.
  5. Serve immediately hot, or cool and pour over ice.
  6. Enjoy!


You can use any sweetener of your choice (simple syrup, brown sugar syrup, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup....)

Choose your favorite citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange, ...)

Be careful as hibiscus tea will stain!

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! 

If you love the vibrant hues of hibiscus tea and are looking for another colorful tea taste treat, be sure to give Butterfly Pea Flower tea a try! You’ll be wowed with its deep blue color.

Want to Save This Hibiscus Tea post for later? Save it to your favorite tea-loving Pinterest Board and pass it on!

hibiscus tea graphic with glass of vibrant red tea

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