Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Iced Tea)

Agua de jamaica (aka hibiscus iced tea) is an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers. It's popular at Mexican taquerias, and now it can be popular in your home.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Poured From a Pitcher into a Glass of Ice with a Lime Slice

Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

Walk into practically any taqueria in California and you'll likely find super-sized containers of agua frescas, right next to the soda dispenser.

The usual flavors are horchata (a sweet rice drink), tamarindo (from tamarind), and agua de Jamaica (pronounced hah-MY-kah).

What Is Agua de Jamaica?

What is this agua de Jamiaca? It's hibiscus tea made from an infusion of hibiscus flowers.

I almost always go for the ruby red Jamaica, I think just because I love the color. The taste of this hibiscus tea is slightly tart and refreshing.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Served with Ice and a Lime Slice Next to a Small Plate of Sliced Oranges and Limes and a Pitcher with More Jamaica

Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

If you've ever had red zinger tea from Celestial Seasonings, it's a little like that. Or a little like cranberry juice. With a squeeze or two of lime juice, it becomes almost punch-like.

Finding Hibiscus Flowers for Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea (an infusion, actually) is popular all around the world. The hibiscus sabdariffa flower grows in tropical and semi-tropical climates. This variety of hibiscus is different from the flowers I grew up with in Los Angeles; it's also called "Roselle".

You can find the dried hibiscus flowers at almost any Mexican market (look for "flor de Jamaica"), or you can order them online.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Served with Ice and a Lime Slice

Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

Try These Other Refreshing Summer Drinks!

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Iced Tea)

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 8 servings
Yield 2 quarts


  • 2 quarts water, divided

  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you would like it to be)

  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers

  • 1/2 stick cinnamon stick (optional)

  • A few thin slices ginger (optional)

  • Allspice berries (optional)

  • Lime juice (optional)

  • Orange or lime slices for garnish


  1. Boil the water with sugar and spices:

    Put 4 cups of the water and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Add cinnamon, ginger slices, and/or a few allspice berries if you would like. Heat until boiling and the sugar has dissolved.

    Water Boiled with Sugar and Spices for Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

  2. Steep with the dried hibiscus flowers:

    Remove from heat. Stir in the dried hibiscus flowers using a spatula. Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.

    Dried Jamaica Flowers Added to Pot of Hot Sweetened Spiced Water for Agua de Jamaica Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

    Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Steeping in a Pot

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

  3. Strain:

    Strain into a pitcher and discard the used hibiscus flowers, ginger, cinnamon, and/or allspice berries.

    (At this point you can store ahead the concentrate, chilled, until ready to make the drink.)

    Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Strained into a Pitcher to Remove Flowers and Spices

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

  4. Add the water:

    Add remaining 4 cups of water (or if you want to chill the drink quickly, ice and water) to the concentrate, and chill.

    Alternatively, you can add ice and chilled soda water for a bubbly version.

    Add a little lime juice for a more punch-like flavor.

    Serve over ice with a slice of orange or lime.

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    Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Poured into a Glass of Ice From a Pitcher. On the Counter with the Glass is a Plate with Lime and Orange Slices and a Kitchen Towel.

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

    Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea) Served with Ice and a Lime Slice Next to a Small Plate of Sliced Oranges and Limes, a Bowl with Dried Jamaica Flowers, and a Pitcher

    Simply Recipes / Annika Panikker

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
86 Calories
0g Fat
22g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 86
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 11mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 9mg 46%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 53mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.