Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hibiscus Tea (Agua de Jamaica)

Hibiscus Tea (Agua de Jamaica)

Hibiscus tea is more of a beverage than a tea. This beverage gets its rich burgundy color from the dried hibiscus flowers which is steep in boiling water for about 1 to 2 hours. While hibiscus tea does not contain any tea leaves, the steeping of the dried flowers is why this beverage is referred to as an herbal tea. I like to make my hibiscus tea a little strong so that when served over ice, the flavor will not weaken as the ice dilutes the beverage. The flavor of this beverage is a little cranberry-like and a little plum-like. This beverage is so refreshing, especially on a hot day. Without sugar, hibiscus tea is very tart so you need to add sugar to taste. I like the hibiscus tea sweet and a bit tart, like drinking cranberry juice or pomegranate juice. Dried hibiscus flowers, aka Jamaica, can be purchased at any Hispanic supermarkets sold in bulk bins.

6 cups cold water (48 ounces)
2 cups dried hibiscus (Jamaica) flowers (3 ounces)
1-1/2 cups organic cane sugar (10.2 ounces)
3 cups cold water (24 ounces)

Place 6 cups of cold water in a medium-size stainless steel saucepan which includes a lid. Bring water to a full boil. Add the dried hibiscus flower and sugar and stir to combine. When mixture returns to a boil (which is almost immediate), remove from heat. Place the lid on the saucepan and let steep for about 1 to 2 hours (I steep the flowers for about 1-1/2 hours). Strain tea through a coffee filter into a pitcher. Add the remaining 3 cups cold water. Stir and refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice.

Yield 2 quarts

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