I never had agua de jamaica (hibiscus tea) until I came to Los Angeles. My Thai friend took me to her favorite Thai spot and asked me if I ever tried jamaica. My answer was no and she ordered for both of us. I was greeted with a beautiful ruby drink, and it was love at first taste. A tangy, sweet explosion. It actually reminded me of home surprisingly, because we have a similar tasting drink in Japan, even down to the color. The Japanese drink is made from red shiso leaves.
Anyways, back to jamaica tea. This gorgeous crimson drink has quickly become one of my favorites to have on a hot summer day. I drank this exclusively during the last Vegan Beer and Food Festival while helping out at the Plant Food & Wine booth. No beer or kombucha for this kid on that hot, hot, day! By the way, the festival was a blast.
I made a large batch of this tea for 4th of July and saw the fireworks while sipping it. Wonderful!
Agua de jamaica, or hibiscus tea is a popular drink in North Africa, South America, South East Asia, and in the middle east. This special tea is gorgeous inside and out. Not only does it have blood pressure and cholesterol lowering properties, but also has loads of vitamin c, anti-oxidants, and minerals.
It is best to use loose hibiscus tea leaves for the drink. You can get them at health food stores, or online. Here’s the link to the one I always use. You can use hibiscus tea bags instead, but the loose tea leaves taste so much better.
Time to make some agua de jamaica! Start by cold brewing the hibiscus tea, aka mix the loose hibiscus tea leaves into water. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. You can put a cinnamon stick in there if you’d like to give it a nice cinnamon undertone, but I prefer just using straight up hibiscus personally.
In about 8 hours, the water will become a deep ruby color.
Strain out the leaves using a sieve.
Stir some maple syrup or coconut nectar into the freshly brewed tea. You can add some lime juice if you’d like as well. Serve with lots of ice, and it is ready for sipping! Enjoy this perfect pick me up!
- ¼ cup loose hibiscus tea
- 2 cups water
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup or coconut nectar
- ½ cinnamon stick (optional)
- Juice of ½ a lime (optional)
- Place the loose hibiscus leaves (and the cinnamon stick if you'd like) into the water in a large glass jar. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight or for 8 hours.
- Strain out the hibiscus tea leaves through a sieve.
- Add maple syrup or coconut nectar and possibly some lime juice.
- Serve in a glass filled with ice.