Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hibiscus-Citrus Tea

It’s funny how things change. I remember throughout my childhood my parents making different types of beverages, also known as ‘agua fresca,’ using fresh fruits, different types of tea, and even rice. I always thought, “Why can’t we be like everyone else and have cool-aid?” Back then, I was definitely not appreciative of these homemade drinks and thought they were nothing spectacular compared to an ice cold Coca Cola. Couple months ago, I was at a book store and ordered a drink to have while I caught up on all my celebrity gossip. The more I drank this tea; I wondered where I had this drink before, considering that the smell and taste of the tea seemed so familiar. I soon realized that the tea I had just purchased was in fact the same hibiscus tea my parents made all these years which they referred to as ‘agua de jamaica. I’ll admit. I was slightly disappointed at that point, because not only did I just pay about 3 dollars for this drink, but I also knew the simple recipe to this drink.
For those who are not too familiar with hibiscus tea, it is literally made from hibiscus flower pedals. The flower pedals are dried and packaged for use. That is why it is important to rinse the hibiscus pedals before use as well as to use a strainer when pouring the tea into a pitcher. Otherwise, you will get a lot of the dirt and dust that naturally is on the hibiscus pedals in your tea. Yuck! Hibiscus tea has a tart taste like cranberry juice and has a really beautiful crimson red color. Although I love this tea as it is, I wanted to recreate this recipe and add additional flavors. I figure if I flavor iced tea with lemons and sometimes peaches, why not add some sort of fruit to this hibiscus tea as well. I may have not liked this drink as a child, but as an adult I have grown to love it for its original and great taste. 

Hibiscus Citrus Tea


8 cups water, plus 1 for simple syrup
1 cup dry hibiscus flowers (tea)
1 cup sugar
3 oranges


  1. Using a strainer, wash hibiscus tea under cold water and pour into a pot with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil (about 15 minutes.)
  2. In a separate small pot, combine 1 cup of sugar, zest of 1 orange and juice of 2 oranges and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool when done.
  3. Once hibiscus tea comes to a boil, set aside to cool. Pour tea into a pitcher using a strainer.
  4. Pour in simple syrup to pitcher. Use as much simple syrup as you’d like. Usually, I use the entire cup. Serve over ice. 
Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy,and Sassy Original. 

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