Cool off with this sweet, tart, and refreshing agua de Jamaica recipe. You'll soon see why hibiscus iced tea is such a popular drink in Mexico.
Get your glasses ready!
Bring a taste of Mexico to your kitchen with this easy and delicious hibiscus iced tea.
If you've ever been to Mexico, you will have seen this tea served at taquerias, restaurants, and street vendors.
Agua de Jamaica is a type of agua fresca ("fresh water"). It's kind of like a mix between juice and water, but much more refreshing than either on their own.
Aguas frescas consist of different fruits or concentrates mixed with fresh water. Each type has its own unique and delicious flavor.
What is flor de Jamaica?
Agua de Jamaica (ha-my-cah) uses flor de Jamaica (Jamaica flower) to create its beautiful flavor and hue.
Wait a minute. Let's clarify a few things.
This is not a flower from Jamaica. Flor de Jamaica is a species of hibiscus known as Hibiscus sabdariffa (or roselle).
The contested origin is between India and Africa, but this tea has since made its way into Mexican cuisine (for good reason — the refreshing flavors complement spicy food perfectly).
Did you know there are over 200 different species of hibiscus? Careful though... not all of them are edible!
When you buy flor de Jamaica, don't be surprised there aren't any petals to be found. The part you need for this iced tea is the calyx (sepals) of the plant. These sepals are what protect and enclose the flower.
What is the flavor like?
What you'll taste in each glass of this tea is a tart, tangy, and berry-like flavor (similar to fresh cranberry juice).
As far as the sugar goes, that's completely up to you. Add more or less sweetener depending on your preferences.
How do I customize it?
Agua de Jamaica is traditionally made with water, hibiscus, and sugar, but there are a ton of different flavorings you can add in!
Try a squeeze of lime juice, allspice, or cinnamon to elevate this drink. We usually throw in a cinnamon stick to spice things up (see what we did there?).
So, are you about ready to quench your thirst with a delicious agua fresca?
Let's get to it!
🍲 Key ingredients
For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.
Flor de Jamaica
Taste: besides turning your tea a beautiful red-purple color, this flower is tart and tangy. You'll notice notes of berry in each sip (it tastes very similar to cranberries).
Health: if you're not obsessed with flor de Jamaica for the taste, you will be for the impressive health benefits. There are studies proving significant reductions in blood pressure from consuming this tea. Need more convincing? There's proof of hibiscus lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol).
Where to buy: this may come as a surprise, but flor de Jamaica is stocked in many supermarkets. You'll be able to find it at Hispanic markets or in the international section of your usual grocer. Not having any luck? There are lots of places to order it online, including Amazon.
Taste: with the same sweetness as table sugar, cane sugar has a more complex flavor and hints of molasses. Use organic cane sugar to ensure it's vegan-friendly (yes, refined sugar is filtered through bone char).
Health: we're not about to tell you sugar is healthy for you. But, we do want to drive home a key point about moderation. It's something we believe plays a huge part in maintaining a healthy "diet" mindset. By giving yourself permission to enjoy a little sweetener, you'll have a better chance of preventing binges or cheats in the long run. Cut yourself some slack!
If you have questions about his recipe, don't forget to check out our FAQ section at the bottom of this post.
Step 1: make this tea by adding the water and flor de Jamaica to a large pot. If you're wanting extra flavor, add in a cinnamon stick. Bring everything to a low boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 2: once the tea has simmered, shut your stove off, stir in the sugar, and allow the mixture to cool. You'll know the concentrate is ready when the flowers sink to the bottom!
Step 3: once steeped, pour the concentrate over a mesh strainer into a large mason jar or pitcher. Add another 3-4 cups of water (or to taste) into the jar and stir well.
Step 4: serve your agua de Jamaica in a glass full of ice. Squeeze a wedge of lime over top and enjoy!
Fridge: this tea will store in the fridge for at least 5-7 days. Keep it in an airtight container so it doesn't take on flavors of the other items in your fridge. We use an extra-large mason jar, which works perfectly.
Freezer: try freezing your leftover tea in ice trays to chill your next batch of agua de Jamaica. This way, you won't dilute your drink as much!
Dilution: store this as a concentrate and add water on an individual basis if you're not sure how strong you'll want it. If you already know what you like, mix the water right into your pitcher or jar.
💭 Pro tips
Time to share our tips and tricks we learned while perfecting this recipe for you:
- Try adding carbonated water for a fizzy drink.
- Add a stick of cinnamon during steeping.
- Use large ice cubes so the drink doesn't dilute as quickly.
- Do you prefer a more tart flavor? Half the sugar!
- You can use any type of sweetener you like (agave, turbinado, etc). For an extra authentic experience, use piloncillo to sweeten your tea.
- If you're looking for a low-calorie alternative, try using stevia.
🍴 Tasting notes
This iced tea recipe is so guzzle-worthy, you might want to make a double batch! It's:
If you try this agua de Jamaica, please rate it and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Agua de Jamaica
- Measuring cups
- Pitcher or large mason jar
- Ice cube trays
- 2 cups flor de Jamaica ($0.79)
- 8 cups water ($0.01)
- 1 cup cane sugar, or to taste ($0.05)
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- Lime wedges
- Mint sprigs
- To a large pot, add the water, flor de Jamaica, and a cinnamon stick if you're using one. Bring everything to a low boil, then turn the heat down to simmer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, shut the heat off, stir in the sugar, then allow the mixture to cool. The concentrate is ready when the flowers sink to the bottom.
- Once steeped, pour the concentrate over a mesh strainer into a large mason jar or pitcher. Add another 3-4 cups of water into the jar (or to taste) and stir well.
- Serve your agua de Jamaica in a glass full of ice. Squeeze a wedge of lime over top and enjoy!
- Save the steeped hibiscus flowers to use in other recipes since they are edible!
- Optional ingredients are not reflected in the price or calories of our recipes.
- We calculate nutritional information for our recipes with Cronometer.
- Recipe cost calculations are based on ingredients local to us and may vary from recipe-to-recipe.
- All prices are in USD.
♻️ Similar recipes
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- Sweet potato and black bean quesadillas for a cheap meal prepared in no time.
- Vegan churros because who doesn't love crispy sticks of dough rolled in cinnamon sugar?
- Mexican strawberries and cream if you're ready to try a vegan version of this infamous dessert.
Look for flor de Jamaica in the ethnic section of your usual grocery store, at Hispanic markets, or online.
You can drink this tea unsweetened for a more tangy version. There are so many health benefits to this species of hibiscus! A lot of the time, we drink plain agua de Jamaica in place of water.
Yes. If you prefer to drink this tea hot, serve it immediately after steeping as you would with other teas. Although you won't find it served this way in Mexico, the flavor is delicious hot or cold.