How to make hibiscus tea with dried hibiscus flowers, that can be stored for months, so that you can enjoy a hot or iced hibiscus beverage, whenever you like.
Let's learn how to make the most delicious hibiscus tea!
Hibiscus tea is a refreshing drink made from hibiscus flowers that have been dried until they are completely dehydrated, and steeped in hot or cold water as desired.
What kind of hibiscus should I use to make tea?
Be sure to always use home grown hibiscus or hibiscus grown without the use of pesticides.
What do I need to make hibiscus tea?
All you need to make hibiscus tea are hibiscus flowers from your garden, patio or floral store, and orange peel.
Once the hibiscus and orange peel zest are completely dehydrated of all moisture, the tea can be stored for months on end.
The stored tea can be brewed into hot or cold brewed tea any time the mood strikes you.
Use any color of hibiscus flower
You can use any color of hibiscus, or blend of colors. Be sure you are using hibiscus that has not been treated with pesticides.
Typically, red hibiscus is used because of the traditional deep fuchsia color it gives the water as it brews.
A blend or red, orange, yellow or pink can make a variety of beautifully colored tea and won't affect the taste.
Prepare the hibiscus for drying
Prepare the flowers first by pulling the petals apart from the stamen (the yellow part in the middle with pollen), and away from the stems and leaves.
Whether you plan on brewing hot or cold brewed hibiscus tea, you must dry the hibiscus flowers and orange zest. This prevents any molding from occurring during long term storage.
If you wish to add additional ingredients such as orange peel, spices or additional florals, prepare them to be dried as well.
How to dry hibiscus flowers for tea
Hibiscus petals can be dried one of three ways: 1) in an oven, 2) in a food dehydrator, or 3) in the warm sunlight.
To dry hibiscus flowers in the oven, preheat the oven on the absolute lowest setting. On most ovens this is around 170 degrees F.
Arrange the hibiscus leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle the orange zest around the hibiscus petals to dry it at the same time.
Bake the hibiscus flower petals for 2-3 hours or until all moisture is gone, and petals are dry and brittle.
To dry hibiscus flowers in a food dehydrator, set the dehydrator to around 120 degrees and arrange hibiscus flower petals and orange zest on dehydrator trays.
Dehydrate for 6-10 hours until petals are dry and brittle.
The petals will shrink a great deal, so be sure to use trays that they can't fall through as they dehydrate.
To dry hibiscus flowers in the sunlight, arrange the petals and orange zest in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper and set in a sunny window to dry.
This "air dry" method could take up to three days, sometimes more.
Storing dried hibiscus flowers
Once the hibiscus flowers are completely dried, they can be stored in an airtight container, in a dark place, at room temperature for 6-12 months.
You can also store them in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life even further.
If well sealed and stored properly, you can enjoy hibiscus tea made from dried hibiscus petals all year round!
Additionally, you can add your flowers with your spices and herbs of choice to tea bags to create hibiscus tea bags and store them properly in an airtight container or plastic bag with excess air removed.
How to brew hibiscus tea
You can brew hibiscus tea hot or cold, as shown below.
To brew hot hibiscus tea, bring 2 cups of fresh spring water to a boil either in a pot on the stove or tea kettle.
Add one tablespoon of hibiscus tea and steep the tea leaves in the hot water loosely or using a tea ball strainer for an additional 5 minutes.
Do not over steep the tea, it can ruin the flavors.
Strain the tea into heat safe mugs and enjoy.
You may add honey, stevia, agave, sugar or any other sweetener you like to compliment this tart tea, or enjoy it tangy and unsweetened.
To brew cold brew hibiscus tea, use fresh cold spring water.
Stir a one cup of hibiscus tea into 8 cups of cold water.
Steep the loose tea in the cold water for 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
Strain the cold brewed tea through a mesh strainer and enjoy cold or over ice cubes as iced hibiscus tea.
Can you sweeten this hibiscus tea recipe?
If you want, you can sweeten this refreshing drink with a little agave, stevia, sugar, honey, simple syrup, maple syrup, or any other sweetener of your choice.
Cold brewed hibiscus tea can be stored in the refrigerator in a pitcher for a refreshing drink to enjoy over the next two weeks.
Hot tea should be drank immediately before it becomes it is no longer hot.
Hibiscus tea is also called agua de Jamaica
Agua de jamaica, also known as hibiscus tea, is an herbal infusion made from dried and processed sepals of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower.
This beverage has a tart flavor profile similar to cranberry juice and is often drunk either warm or cold.
In Central America, agua de jamaica is a popular non-alcoholic drink; it can be served by itself or mixed with other ingredients to make a more complex beverage.
It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine due to its high Vitamin C content and potential amazing benefits for the digestive system and other possible health benefits.
Where do I find fresh hibiscus flowers for making tea with?
Fresh hibiscus flowers for making tea can be found in most health food stores, as well as some grocery stores. It is also possible to purchase dried hibiscus flowers online or in certain specialty shops.
Stay away from flower shops that carry hibiscus flowers as those fresh flowers typically have unsafe chemicals on them.
Alternatively, you can grow your own hibiscus plant if you have the space, proper climate, and resources available.
Growing your own hibiscus flowers gives you access to fresh blooms that you can turn into dried flowers whenever you desire them and it allows you to create a unique flavor profile with each cup of tea.
Tips and Variations
- You can add spices or ingredients to change the flavor of each cup of tea. Adding a cinnamon stick to a pitcher of fresh iced tea with hibiscus would be wonderful.
- Feel free to serve this hot or chilled.
- If you want to swap the orange peel out, you can try a lemon peel or lemon zest, lime peel, or add a squirt of lemon juice or lime juice for another great idea.
- Add some mint leaves to the trays when you're drying the hibiscus for some hibiscus mint tea.
- The steeping process may seem lengthy, but this is when your flavors of your hibiscus drink really get the chance to develop and blossom.
How to Make Hibiscus Tea (Agua de Jamaica)
- 1 food dehydrator optional
- 1 Oven optional
- 1 baking sheet optional
- 1 piece parchment paper optional
- 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers about a dozen (12) fresh hibiscus flowers, petals separated.
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
Prepare the Hibiscus Flowers and Orange Zest for Drying
- Prepare the flowers first by pulling the petals apart from the stamen (the yellow part in the middle with pollen), and away from the stems and leaves.
- Take a whole orange, and use a grater to grate the very outer layer of the orange peel (the 'zest') or use a vegetable peeler to peel the outermost layer of the orange zest away from the orange. Avoid the white, bitter portion below the orange peel.
To Dry Hibiscus in the Oven
- To dry hibiscus flowers in the oven, preheat the oven on the absolute lowest setting with the oven door slightly ajar. On most ovens this is around 170 degrees F. Arrange the flower petals and orange zest in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 2-3 hours until leaves and orange zest are dry and brittle.
To Dry Hibiscus in a Food Dehydrator
- To dry hibiscus flowers in a food dehydrator, set the dehydrator to around 120 degrees and arrange hibiscus flower petals and orange zest on dehydrator trays.
- Dehydrate for 6-10 hours until petals are dry and brittle. The petals will shrink a great deal, so be sure to use trays that they can't fall through as they dehydrate.
To Dry Hibiscus in the Sun
- To dry hibiscus flowers in the sunlight, arrange the petals and orange zest in a single layer on a piece of parchment paper and set in a sunny window to dry naturally. This method could take up to three days or even more depending on how warm the area they are drying in is.
To Brew Hot Hibiscus Tea
- To brew hot hibiscus tea, bring 2 cups of fresh spring water to a boil either in a pot on the stove or tea kettle.
- Add one tablespoon of hibiscus tea and boil the tea leaves loosely or using a tea ball strainer for an additional 5 minutes. Do not over steep the tea, it can ruin the flavors.
- Strain the tea into heat safe mugs and enjoy hot. Sweeten as desired (optional).
To Cold Brew Hibiscus Tea
- To brew cold brew hibiscus tea, use fresh cold spring water.
- Stir a one cup of hibiscus tea into 8 cups of cold water.
- Steep the loose tea in the cold water for 2 hours at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge.
- Strain the cold brewed tea through a mesh strainer and enjoy cold or over ice.
- Store remaining cold brewed hibiscus tea in the refrigerator.