Agua de Jamaica

Hibiscus Iced Tea

Agua de Jamaica which translates as “hibiscus water” is a typical agua fresca to accompany the mid-day meal in Mexico. It is sweet, tart, delicious and really a refreshing drink all at the same time.

Glass of Agua de Jamaica (Mexican Hibiscus Iced Tea)

You prepare it by steeping hibiscus flowers, called flor de jamaica to produce a concentrate that you dilute with water and sweeten with sugar. Jamaica is a great alternative to soda. You can find hibiscus flowers at your local grocery store or order online. Mexgrocer is a good option. 

Sweet or Tart?

Mexicans tend to prefer their agua de jamaica very sweet. If you add the full 1/2 cup of sugar called for in the recipe to make a pitcher of jamaica it will be sweet like served in Mexico. We prefer it on the tart side. If you prefer it on the tart side only add 1/4 cup of sugar per picture.

How to Make Agua de Jamaica Drink (Iced Hibiscus Tea)

It’s really quite simple to prepare. Follow these steps.

Flor de Jamaica (Dried Hibiscus Flowers) in Ceramic BowlDried Hibiscus Flowers Called “Flor de Jamaica.”

  • Start with two cups of hibiscus flowers (jamaica). Fresh flowers produce the best tasting drink. If the flowers are pliable they are fresh. If they are hard and brittle they aren’t fresh and your jamaica won’t be as tasty.

Hibiscus Flowers Soaking in WaterAdd Hibiscus Flowers to Cold Water.

  • Add the hibiscus flowers to 2 quarts of water. Be sure you add the flowers to cold water. This makes a difference.

Simmering Flor de JamaicaBoil Then Reduce the Heat

  • Bring the water to a boil and as soon as it boils reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes turn off the heat and allow the concentrate to cool.

Hibiscus Concentrate in Pot on StoveFully Extracted Hibiscus Tea Concentrate. Note the Deep Red Color

  • As the flowers steep they absorb water and will sink to the bottom of the pot. That’s how you will know that the concentrate is ready to use.
Straining Simmered Hibiscus Flowers (Flor de Jamaica)
Strain the Steeped Hibiscus Flowers
  • Pour the concentrate through a strainer to remove the flowers.

Hibiscus Tea (Jamaica Drink) Concentrate in PitcherTo Store Pour Concentrate Into Pitcher

Pour the concentrate into a small pitcher or jar to store. You started the process with 2 quarts of water but after steeping the hibiscus you will only have 1 1/2 quarts of concentrate. The flowers absorb quite a bit of water.

A glass pitcher or jar is preferable for storage. Plastic containers seem to give it an off-taste. Also, the concentrate tends to stain plastic.

Drink Preparation

  • To prepare the drink, pour 1/3 of the concentrate into a 1/2 gallon pitcher.
Jamaica Drink Concentrate Ready to Prepare
  • Add the sugar and water to fill the pitcher. Stir vigorously to dissolve the sugar.
Adding Sugar to Sweeten Jamaica Concentrate
Pitcher of Agua de Jamaica Drink
  • Serve over ice or well chilled.
Agua de Jamaica Chilled in Tall Glass


Mexican Jamaica Drink (Hibiscus Iced Tea) in Tall Glass
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3.75 from 24 votes

Agua de Jamaica Recipe

Mexico's well-known jamaica drink, Agua de Jamaica or "hibiscus water." A perfect drink to serve with the mid-day comida. The flavor is sweet and tart at the same time and very refreshing.
Course Beverage
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword agua fresca, hibiscus, iced tea, jamaica
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 12 glasses
Calories 129kcal
Author Douglas Cullen


  • 2 cups dried hibiscus flowers
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup sugar per pitcher of jamaica


  • Put 2 quarts of water in a pot
  • Add 2 cups of dried hibiscus flowers to the water
  • Bring to a boil
  • As soon as the water boils reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes
  • After 10 minutes turn off the heat and allow the hibiscus concentrate to cool
  • Put 1/3 of the concentrate in a half-gallon pitcher and add the sugar
  • Fill the pitcher with cool water and stir vigorously to dissolve the water
  • Serve chilled or over ice


  • Add I cinnamon stick to the water when steeping.
Alternative Sweeteners
  • Instead of sugar, you can sweeten your drink with piloncillo or agave syrup.
  • The concentrate will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Store in a sealed container so that it doesn’t take on flavors for other foods in the fridge.


Serving: 11ozs. | Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Sodium: 5mg | Sugar: 33g

More Mexican Drinks (Aguas Frescas)

28 comments… add one
  • Ralph

    How long can you store dried Jamaica flowers

  • Jason

    Great Recipe! But you MUST try it using Piloncillo (basically brown sugar in a cone shape). This is the most authentic and delicious. Cheers!

  • Deb

    Can you freeze concentrate?

    • I’ve never tried freezing it, but I think it would freeze well. If you freeze it let us know how it turns out. Cheers!

  • Buddy

    It’s been a long time I actually pulled out a piece of paper to take notes on a blog post. Thanks for this. You’ve earned yourself a new reader!

  • Mandy

    You can add a stick of cinumum and skip the sugar. 😊
    Also you can add apple cut in cubes when is cold.
    I heard even adding peanuts to the drink…

  • Anna Knox

    Hi I live in San Francisco..where do I buy fresh hibiscus flowers to make the hibiscus water?…or find a concentrate or dried flowers etc….

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