How to Make Hibiscus Tea Properly

See how to brew hibiscus tea correctly to make the perfect cup of hot or iced hibiscus tea each and every time. See step-by-step guide with photos.

hibiscus iced tea

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What is Hibiscus Tea?

Hibiscus tea is a drink made from steeping dried hibiscus flowers in water. The flower turns the water red and flavors it. The drink can be served hot or cold.

What is Hibiscus?

Hibiscus is a flower grown in regions with tropical temperatures. The hibiscus plant is known for its large, bright colored flowers ranging from red to yellow. 

How Do You Pronounce Hibiscus?

Hibiscus is pronounced HIGH-BISS-KUSS. 

You can also say HEE-BISS-KUSS but that’s the British English pronunciation.

What Does Hibiscus Tea Taste Like?

It tastes like a mild cranberry and is a little tart. 

Is There Caffeine in Hibiscus Tea?

No, there is no caffeine in hibiscus tea. It’s great for kids and adults sensitive to caffeine.

Is Hibiscus Tea a Real Tea?

No, hibiscus tea isn’t a real tea in that it doesn’t come from the Camellia sinensis plant. Only tea that comes from the Camellia sinensis is real tea. 

Hibiscus comes from the hibiscus plant, not from Camellia sinensis and is considered a tisane, which is drink made from herbs, spices, and other plant materials.

RELATED: 30 Refreshing Iced Tea Recipes

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Dried hibiscus

What are the Health Benefits of Hibiscus Tea?

  • Lots of antioxidants
    Antioxidants are nutrients and may help in preventing cell damage. Foods rich in antioxidants, like hibiscus tea, can help your immune system.
  • May lower blood pressure
  • Could help with losing weight and aid in digestion
    Hibiscus is a natural diuretic so it’ll aid in getting rid of water and salt from your body.
  • High in iron
    Iron is a mineral that helps your immune system.

As with anything, drink hibiscus tea in moderation since consuming too much can do more harm than good. There isn’t any hard evidence that hibiscus has any significant health benefits. Pregnant women should avoid drinking hibiscus tea.


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Hibiscus loose tea and in tea bags

Hibiscus Tea Bags vs Loose

Loose tea is higher quality and you can see the actual shape of the leaf. (In this case, the shape of the hibiscus flower.) 

Tea bags contain small parts of the tea leaves or flowers and are of lower quality. 

My rule of thumb when it comes to any kind of tea is: use tea bags when I’m using it in a recipe with other ingredients other than water, and use loose tea for when it’s to be made only with water.

For iced hibiscus, make it cold brewed! It’s my recommendation to cold brew when making any tea or herbal tea iced.

Where to Buy Hibiscus Tea Online

Make sure the hibiscus you’re buying is ONLY hibiscus. A lot of tea companies will add other ingredients to create hibiscus blends. 

These only contain hibiscus:

Hot hibiscus tea

What I Use to Make Hibiscus Tea 

Hibiscus Tea Formula

To make hibiscus tea perfect each and every time, hot or cold:

1 1/2 teaspoons of hibiscus for every cup of water (8 fl. oz.)

Hot water in mug

How to Make Hibiscus Tea Properly

I like to use a glass teapot for herbal tea so you can see the pretty colors and flowers.

STEP 1: Warm up teapot.

Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit to warm it up. Discard the water.

RELATED: How to Make Tea Properly

Hibiscus tea in teapot

STEP 2: Put hibiscus tea into teapot and add hot water. 

The formula is 1 1/2 teaspoons of hibiscus tea to 1 cup of water. If you want to make a stronger brew, put in 2 teaspoons of hibiscus tea. 

Using an electric kettle with a temperature setting is crucial for brewing tea correctly. I set the electric kettle to 208°F.

You can go as high as 212°F for hibiscus tea, but since I don’t like to drink super hot tea I brew on the lower end of the water temperature range.

If you don’t have an electric kettle with a temperature setting, you can use water that has come to a soft boil.

Let’s talk about water. The best tasting water makes the best tasting tea.

Spring or filtered water is best. I’m in NYC where our tap water tastes great so I’ll use tap water too.

Hibiscus tea in teapot

STEP 3: Steep for 5 minutes.

Herbal teas usually steep for about 5 minutes.

The thing with herbal tea is that they don’t really get bitter like black tea will if you steep it for too long. Hibiscus is pretty forgiving so don’t worry if you steep it for 8 minutes instead of 5.

RELATED: Quick and Easy Ginger Tea from Scratch

Pouring hibiscus tea into a clear mug

STEP 4: Strain hibiscus flowers and pour hot tea into tea cup.

You can add sugar or honey to sweeten your cup of tea.

PRO TIP: When pouring from a teapot, always put a finger on the teapot lid.

RELATED: How to Make Rooibos Tea Properly

Iced hibiscus tea

How to Make Perfect Iced Hibiscus Tea

Cold brewing makes for the best iced tea! It’s super easy and delicious.

STEP 1: Put hibiscus tea and water in a pitcher or glass container. 

Use cool or room temperature water. Hot water isn’t a part of the cold brewing process.

STEP 2: Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.

RELATED: How to Make Chamomile Tea Properly

Iced hibiscus tea

STEP 3: Strain out hibiscus solids and pour tea into cup with ice.

Look at that gorgeous red!

Hibiscus Tea Tips

  • Use loose hibiscus instead of tea bags.
  • You can also find good quality hibiscus in herbal or health stores. 
  • You can use any type of teapot to make hibiscus tea properly but I use a glass teapot so that I can see the flowers steeping into a bright red.
  • If you want to sweeten your hibiscus tea, use simple syrup (half water, half sugar). It’ll be the easiest to incorporate into your tea.
  • Cold brewed hibiscus can be steeped for up to 24 hours.

Recipe with Hibiscus

Frozen Pink Tea Latte

A pretty pink frozen drink made with fresh strawberries, green tea, hibiscus, and edible rose buds.

Get the Recipe
 
 
 
Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Tea

Yield: Makes 1 serving

How to make hibiscus tea properly.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit to warm it up. Discard the water.
  2. Put hibiscus tea into teapot and add hot water.
  3. Steep for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain hibiscus flowers and pour hot tea into tea cup.

Notes

HOW TO MAKE COLD BREW HIBISCUS TEA

  1. Put hibiscus and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container.
  2. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
  3. Strain out hibiscus solids and pour tea into cup with ice.

If you want to sweeten your hibiscus tea, use simple syrup (half water, half sugar). It'll be the easiest way to incorporate into your tea.

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4 Comments

  • 3 months ago

    This is an wonderful hibiscus tea and it looks soo delicious…i will make cold hibiscus tea tomorrow’s morning..thanks for sharing….!

  • 2 months ago

    What a lovely article! I must say that I have recently re-discovered my love hibiscus, after having tried it in loose leaf form. I just feel like it tastes much more mild and sweet than the tart tea bag version.
    Also, can I just say your recipes and your photos are absolutely gorgeous! Big fan!

    Tatjana from https://teapro.co.uk/

    • Oh, How Civilized
      2 months ago

      Thanks so much, Tatjana!

  • 1 week ago

    Thank you for posting this – I made it today with fresh flowers, and it turned out fantastic. Such a beautiful color too!

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