If you are interested in learning how to make agua de Jamaica, you are in the right place!
I discovered hibiscus flower tea, also known as Agua de Jamaica while I was in Guatemala. Guatemalans are so fond of it that it is possible to buy instant envelopes resembling American kool-aid at the grocery store. But, I am all about making it fresh at home, so I decided to give it a try.
It’s not really that hard to make a homemade version, just infuse the dried hibiscus flowers the same way you make roselle juice or hibiscus tea, sweeten it and then serve it cold like a lemonade.
The red color is beautiful and the slightly tart taste is highly refreshing.
A Little About Jamaica Tea (Agua de Jamaica)
There’s nothing like a delicious fresh Jamaican tea or “Jamaica water” (this and the horchata latte are my favorites) in a hot summer day.
You can use the Jamaican flower again for a second infusion with hot water, only thing is the liquor will be lighter in color and not so concentrated, but still with a lot of the beneficial nutrients not extracted during the first infusion.
Or you can make some Jamaican flower tacos, my favorite way of using it. Just cook the chopped flower with tomato, onion, chili and make taquitos. Serve with sauce and you can’t imagine how rich they are! I’ll leave you this refreshing recipe.
If you want more refreshing drinks recipes check out my collection of drinks or cocktail recipes, where I share many of my favorite beverage recipes, from Lemonade, horchata water, mango water, watermelon water, pink or strawberry lemonade, papaya water and many more!
But you should know that contrary to what the name suggests, this drink is not originally from Jamaica, but from Mexico. Now you probably should start dreaming of this instead
What Is Hibiscus or Jamaican Flower?
Also known as the Jamaican Rose, Roselle or Jamaican flower, it is a flower of African origin (Hibiscus sabdariffa) of the Malvaceae family. It can be used both in cold drinks like this Jamaican water as well as hot drinks like Jamaican tea.
It has a slightly sour taste similar to that of blueberry, so a sweetener is often added. Once sweet it tastes fresh and exquisite.
Agua de Jamaica aka Jamaica water or hibiscus water is an infusion based on hibiscus flower. You can brew it in hot water like a tea or make a cold brew, which would result in slightly weaker extraction, but it’s still very nice to drink.
Where To Buy Hibiscus Flower?
If you live in Mexico you can find it in any supermarket or market nearby. If you live in the United States, you can find Jamaican flowers in Mexican markets or in other supermarkets in the spice area or near the fruit and vegetable area, usually sold in bulk.
If you have not seen the flower of Jamaica before here I show you how it looks dry and how it looks cooked. Preparing this delicious water is very easy, but I warn you, red can stain your clothes, so do not wear your favorite clothes when preparing it.
Dried hibiscus flowers are found in some specialized or exotic grocery stores (African or health stores for example). Do not hesitate to change the amounts of sugar according to your taste. You can replace Brown Sugar with white sugar or agave syrup for a 100% Mexican drink!
How To Make Agua de Jamaica (Jamaica water)
This easy recipe will make about 18 cups of agua de Jamaica in about 10 minutes, but it will take a few hours to fully infuse. So be sure to make it a few hours before you want it.
I recommend storing it in a glass jar for the ultimate freshness.
- 1 cup dried organic hibiscus flower
- 3/4 cup of sugar or honey
- Add sugar and 4-6 cups of water to a pot on medium high heat
- When it begins to boil, lower heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes until the sugar is melted
- Remove from heat and add hibiscus flowers
- Cover pot and let it infuse for about 20 minutes
- Strain and keep only the concentrate in a pitcher
- Add additional 4 cups of water or more depending on your taste, to dilute the concentrate
- Refrigerate until ready to serve
There are a few options for this drink that you can consider as well to give it a more unique flavor. The recipe above is a great base, but don’t be afraid to have some fun with it!
- Add a few drops of lime juice
- Add a cinnamon stick during the cooking process
- Add a few slices of ginger to the cooking process
- Use agave instead of sugar