Agua de jamaica (hibiscus flower iced tea) is one of the most common aguas frescas that you will find in Mexico. It is refreshing, simple, and sweet, yet a bit tart at the same time. What I love about this drink is that you can adjust the sweetness and intensity to your liking, simply by adding more or less sugar and water.
Read on to find out what aguas frescas are, the benefits of agua de jamaica (pronounced ha-MY-kah), where to find dried hibiscus flowers, and the simple steps that are needed to make this refreshing drink!
What are aguas frescas?
Aguas frescas (literally translates to “cool water”) are flavored and sweetened beverages typically made from blended fruit. Popular flavors here in central Mexico include lime, cucumber, mango, guava, pineapple, papaya, cantaloupe, watermelon, orange, prickly pear fruit, and many others. The flavors will vary depending on what fruit is in season and available in your region. But since agua de jamaica is made of the dried hibiscus flower, it is available year-round, making it a popular choice.
Is agua de jamaica good for you?
With so many of us becoming more and more health conscious, I often get asked whether the recipes I share are “healthy.” While the definition of “healthy” may vary from person to person, there are studies on the hibiscus plant that indicate some possible health benefits.
The hibiscus plant has been used in various cultures to treat certain ailments for centuries.
Recent studies have indicated potential positive health effects of drinking hibiscus tea like, lowered blood pressure, lower levels of bad cholesterol, improved liver health, and weight loss properties. Hibiscus also has antioxidant, and antibacterial properties, and may prevent certain cancers.
Although these studies indicate potential health benefits more studies are needed to confirm the results. Additionally, hibiscus tea may interact with certain medications or create complications during pregnancy. So as always, it is best to check with your doctor before consuming herbal teas.
Where to find hibiscus flowers
So, by now you may be wondering, where to find hibiscus flowers to make this refreshing drink. In the US, I have seen packages of these flowers in the local Mexican food markets or in the Hispanic food aisle of major grocery stores. In Spanish, the packages will be labeled as “flor de jamaica.” You can also purchase these flowers online.
So, now that you know where to get dried hibiscus flowers, let’s get to making this simple iced tea.
How to make agua de jamaica
Agua de jamaica is easy to make, which is why it is one of my favorites. If you can boil water, you can make this tea. So let’s get started!
Start by rinsing the dried flowers under running water to remove any dust or debris.
Then, place the flowers in a pot with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow the flowers to simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and steep the flowers for another 30 minutes.
Now you have a hibiscus tea concentrate!
Mix this concentrate with about 8 cups water, sugar, and refrigerate. Feel free to adjust the water or sugar to your liking.
That’s it! Now you have a simple, and refreshing iced tea!
Did you make this iced tea? Let me know in the comments!
Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower Iced Tea)
- 2 cups dried hibiscus flower
- 10.5 cups water, divided
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Rinse dried hibiscus flowers under running water to remove any dust or debris2 cups dried hibiscus flower
- Place flowers in 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes.10.5 cups water, divided
- Remove from heat, cover, and steep an additional 30 minutes
- Strain the liquid into a large pitcher and save flowers for another use or discard
- Add in sugar and remaining water. Stir to combine.3/4 cup sugar, 10.5 cups water, divided
- Refrigerate for about 2 hours and serve cold