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 refreshing 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.

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 of sugar per picture.

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

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

Flor de Jamaica (Dried Hibiscus Flowers) in Ceramic Bowl
Dried 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 Water
Add the hibiscus flowers to two quarts of 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 Jamaica
Bring to a boil and 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 Stove
Fully extracted hibiscus 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 hibiscus flowers.
  • Pour the concentrate through a strainer to remove the flowers.
Hibiscus Tea (Jamaica Drink) Concentrate in Pitcher
Pour concentrate in a small pitcher or jar to store.

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

Salud!

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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  • HIBISCUS CONCENTRATE
  • 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
  • PITCHER OF JAMAICA
  • 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

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

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

More Mexican Drinks (Aguas Frescas)

28 comments… add one
  • Amilia

    Are you able to reuse the flowers a couple of more times after the first batch is made?
    Thanks!

    • Most of the flavor is extracted in the first batch so any following batches will be pretty weak. You might want to give it a try though to see if there is enough flavor for you. Cheers!

    • Blanca

      Can u use flowers again after one boiling?

      • If you use the jamaica flowers again a second time they won’t have much flavor. You can give it a try to see if there is enough flavor for you.

      • Oscar

        I learned a trick where you just soak it in warm sink water and brew it in a jug with the water from the sink till it gets the red color. I use to boil the flower and it would take the real flavor away

    • Mike-n-Jana

      I cold brew the 1st one then hot brew the second yime and then let yhe second batch set in the fridge a couple days cold brewing whike we enjoy the 1st one. Yes sometimes one is stronger then the other, we sweeting with hibiscus syrup and sugar… peace

    • Yvette Marie Charles

      I tried it and love it

  • Jorden

    I was taught to make it using cold water and letting the flowers soak for a couple of hours. Does this affect the flavor? I was told that it is healthier if you don’t boil the flowers.

  • Laura H-S

    This sounds exactly like the wonderful jamaica water I had in a local restaurant. If the concentrate only keeps three days in the fridge, can it be frozen? I don’t think I can drink it all up in 3 days.

  • Professor Lisa

    I was introduced to Jamaica tea in our favorite TexMex restaraunt. I would rather have it than a margarita! Our favorite waitress told me how to make it, and it is similar to this recipe. Then, one of my students got the flowers for me at one of our farmer’s markets. It was a gallon sized bag for about $6!!! I have it on the stove cooling down now. I am so excited to have this today!!!!

  • J

    My Abuela told me to boil the water, as soon as it’s boiling turn it off put the flowers into the water cover and immediately refrigerate. Also we don’t use sugar when making small batches for the family we just let everyone sweeten their own with the little agave syrup however when making a bigger batch for those who aren’t as familiar with the tart flavor sugar might be a good idea.

  • This is what Jamaicans call sorrel – a beverage that usually served at Christmas. We flavor it with ginger, spices and rum. So good!

  • Omar

    How come you didn’t add lime?

  • Ugwu Chidera

    Greetings, my name is Chidera Ugwu. My company is duly registered in Nigeria since 2017. We supply high quality hibiscus, Ginger, turmeric, Garlic, pepper, spices, bitter kola, kola nut, honey etc for the production of the best herbal tea. We have clients across Europe,Asia, US and Africa. We can send you samples to examine if you are interested.
    Expecting to hear from you soon. Regards

  • Mirta

    What are the benefits of this water

  • Norm

    How do you get rid of the grit that comes with the dried hibiscus? If I clean the flowers then I lose some of the flavor and color. Can I use cheesecloth to strain the liquid through?

    • Jude

      Whether you get grit or not with your flowers depend on the supplier. I’ve used hibiscus flowers off and on for years. The second last package of dried hibiscus came from Mexico. The tea was terrible with the amount of grit in it and I ended up throwing them away. I went to our local health food store and bought from next. The dried flowers were larger and very clean.

      I think you’d be able strain *most* of the grit with a closely woven clothe but then, I’d wonder what type of conditions the flowers were grown and harvested in.

  • 3

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