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Agua de Jamaica is a tart, sweet, and refreshing Mexican agua fresca! Also known as hibiscus iced tea, it’s made with just hibiscus flowers, sweetener, and water.

Agua de Jamaica in Glasses
Cool off with a refreshing hibiscus iced tea!

๐Ÿ’œ Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Refreshing: Agua de Jamaica is the perfect summer drink to cool you off when the summer heat arrives.
  • Simple: Only a few simple ingredients are needed to make this drink.
  • Healthy: It can be made with low or no sugar, and it’s filled with antioxidants that help lower blood pressure.
  • Quick: All you need is 15 minutes or less to make hibiscus iced tea.

If you like aguas frescas, then you need to try our pitahaya agua fresca, agua de piรฑa, agua de guayaba, and agua de fresa.

๐ŸŒบ What is flor de Jamaica?

Flor de Jamaica (pronounced ha-my-cah) is a species of hibiscus also known as Hibiscus sabdariffa or roselle.

It originated somewhere between India and Africa, but this flower has since made its way into Mexican cuisine. It’s exploded in popularity, from drinks to tacos, quesadillas, and more.

For this agua de Jamaica recipe, only the calyx is used (rather than the petals). So, don’t be surprised when you make some for yourself!

Close Up of Flor de Jamaica.
We’re obsessed

๐Ÿ’ฆ What is agua de Jamaica?

Agua de Jamaica is a type of agua fresca (fresh water), which are extremely popular beverages in Mexico.

Aguas frescas can be described as a mix between juice and water, but they’re much more refreshing in our opinion. They’re served by street vendors, in taquerรญas, and in restaurants throughout the country.

To make agua de Jamaica, all you need is hibiscus flowers, sweetener, and water. Different infusions can be added like lime, cinnamon, or ginger for a more complex flavor profile. We like to add cinnamon, but it’s up to you!

๐Ÿ˜› What does it taste like?

Agua de Jamaica has a tart, tangy, and berry-like flavor. It’s quite similar to fresh cranberry juice, but with a little more sweetness.

You can make it more or less sweet, depending on the level of sugar you add. If you infuse it with spices, this also changes the flavor profile. Play around with different measurements to make this recipe your own!

๐Ÿ“œ History

Aguas frescas are believed to have been created around the time of the Aztecs. Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, used to have a large market where people traveled across the country to visit.

Along the way, travelers collected fruits and muddled them with fresh water, resulting in hydrating, flavorful, and healthy drinks now known as aguas frescas.

Flor de Jamaica and cane sugar on a plate.
Agua de Jamaica requires very few ingredients

๐Ÿ›’ Ingredients & substitutions

  • Flor de Jamaica: Steeps in the water and flavors the drink. Jamaica is filled with health benefits that help lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
  • Cane sugar: We use organic cane sugar, but feel free to use the sweetener of your choice. You can even use stevia, monk fruit, or other low-calorie sweeteners.
  • Water: Use as little or as much as you’d like to create the perfect flavor. We tend to prefer our agua de Jamaica on the more concentrated side.

For a complete ingredient list and step-by-step guide, scroll down to our recipe card.

๐Ÿ“ Instructions

Step 1: Fill the pot

Start by adding 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.

Flor de Jamaica, Cinnamon Stick, and Water in a Pot
Cinnamon is optional

Step 2: Stir in the sweetener

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: Strain

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.

Steeped Flor de Jamaica and Cinnamon Stick in a Strainer
Save the hibiscus flowers for tacos!

Step 4: Serve

Serve your agua de Jamaica in a glass full of ice. Squeeze a wedge of lime over top and enjoy immediately. Happy drinking!

If you have questions about making agua de Jamaica, check out our FAQs or leave a comment down below!

๐ŸŒก๏ธ Storage

It’s easy to whip up a batch of agua de Jamaica for refreshing drinks all week long. Here’s what to do with the concentrate:

  • Fridge: Store in the fridge for up to 6-7 days. Keep it in an airtight container or mason jar so it doesn’t take on flavors from the other items in your fridge.
  • Freezer: Freeze leftover tea in ice cube trays and use them 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 already know the concentration you prefer, mix the water right into your pitcher or jar.
Iced Hibiscus Tea in Glasses.
Prepare to be refreshed

โ™ป๏ธ Variations

  • Carbonated: Try adding a little carbonated water for a bubbly version.
  • Spices: Add lime, orange, lemon, cinnamon, ginger, mint leaves, star anise, allspice, or clove to create a more complex drink.
  • Different sweeteners: If you don’t like cane sugar, try piloncillo, brown sugar, or coconut sugar.
  • Sugar-free: Replace sugar for stevia or monk fruit, or leave it out altogether.

๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿณ Top tips

  • Let the flowers sink: You’ll know the tea is done steeping when the hibiscus flowers sink to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add sugar at the start: To better dissolve the cane sugar, add it to the pot while the water is still hot.
  • Save the flowers: Make flor de Jamaica tacos, quesadillas, or enchiladas with the steeped flowers. They make a great meat replacement!
  • Let it cool: Although it may be tempting, agua de Jamaica is best-served ice cold!

๐Ÿ’ฌ FAQ

Where can I buy flor de Jamaica?

Look for flor de Jamaica in the international aisle of your usual grocery store, at Mexican food markets, or buy it online.

Can I drink agua de Jamaica hot?

Yes, you can drink agua de Jamaica hot. However, you won’t see it served this way in Mexico.

๐Ÿน More drink recipes

For more refreshing and satisfying drinks, check out some of our most popular recipes:

Agua de Jamaica Recipe

Easy Agua de Jamaica

Mitch and Justine
Agua de Jamaica is a tart, sweet, and refreshing Mexican agua fresca! Also known as hibiscus iced tea, it's made with just 2 ingredients!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican, Vegan
Servings 12 servings
Calories 60 kcal

Equipment

  • Stockpot
  • Strainer
  • Pitcher or large mason jar
  • Ice cube trays

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups flor de Jamaica ($0.79)
  • 8 cups water ($0.01)
  • 1 cup cane sugar, or to taste ($0.05)

Add-ins optional

  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • Fresh ginger slices
  • Lime wedges
  • Orange wedges

Instructions
 

  • To a large pot, add the water, flor de Jamaica, and any add-ins of your choosing. 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 through 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 or an orange over top and enjoy immediately. Happy drinking!

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Let the flowers sink: You’ll know the tea is done steeping when the hibiscus flowers sink to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add sugar at the start: To better dissolve the cane sugar, add it to the pot while the water is still hot.
  • Save the flowers: Make flor de Jamaica tacos, quesadillas, or enchiladas with the steeped flowers. They make a great meat replacement!
  • Let it cool: Although it may be tempting, agua de Jamaica is best-served ice cold!
  • Nutritional information is a rough estimate and should not be taken as health advice.
  • Recipe cost calculations are based on prices found in the top 5 U.S. grocery chains. As such, prices may vary based on your location. All prices are in USD.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 60kcal | Carbohydrates: 17.8g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 8.5mg | Potassium: 25.6mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 16.7g | Vitamin A: 27.5IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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Note: We’ve updated this post to include new information and helpful tips about the recipe.

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