Hibiscus Tea: What It is, Steps to Make It Properly, and Benefits

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Hibiscus tea is a refreshing and tart drink that’s great hot or iced. See how to properly brew this caffeine-free tea properly, step-by-step, with expert tips from a certified Tea Sommelier.

Hit hibiscus tea in a glass mug.

What is Hibiscus Tea?

  • Hibiscus tea is an herbal drink made from steeping dried hibiscus flowers in water. It’s caffeine-free.
  • The tea is naturally red. The bright red hibiscus flower colors the water and flavors it. The hibiscus plant is known for its large, bright colored flowers and it is grown in regions with tropical temperatures.
  • Always use food-grade hibiscus to make sure they weren’t treated with pesticides. Never use hibiscus from flower shops since they’re loaded with chemicals.

Love herbal tea? See how to make chamomile, rose, rooibos, barley, and lavender properly.

Hibiscus Benefits

Ingredient Notes

Hibiscus loose tea and hibiscus in tea bag.
  • Hibiscus Tea
    The more of the whole flower you can see, the better the quality. Loose hibiscus tea is higher quality and you can see the flower petals. Hibiscus tea bags are of lower quality since they’re filled with crushed flower petals.
  • Water
    If you can, always use filtered water for making tea since water quality makes a difference in how your tea tastes.
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Steps to Make Hot Hibiscus Tea

Four photo collage showing steps to make hibiscus tea.

For complete brewing guide, full ingredients, and instructions, scroll to the bottom.

  1. Boil water.
    Using an electric kettle with temperature settings to boil water for tea makes it easy to get the water temperature just right. Boil more than needed since you want extra to warm up the teapot.
  2. Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into the teapot and swirl it around a bit. Discard the water.
  3. Put dried hibiscus into the teapot and add hot water. Cover teapot and steep.
  4. Strain hibiscus solids and pour hot tea into a teacup.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Warming up the teapot helps to brew the tea properly, keeping the water temperature hot.

Steps to Make Iced Hibiscus Tea

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

Two photo collage showing steps to make cold brew hibiscus tea.
  1. Put dried hibiscus and water in a pitcher or glass container. Cover and place in refrigerator to cold brew.
    Use cool or room temperature filtered water.
  2. Strain hibiscus solids and pour tea into a cup.
    Cold brewed tea is already chilled so adding ice is optional.

Expert Tips

  • Hibiscus tea can be served with or without sugar. To sweeten hibiscus iced tea, use simple syrup so that it mixes easily into the drink.
  • Tastes great when mixed with lemonade.
  • Hibiscus is often used in drinks to naturally color it pink like this pink frappuccino.
  • Use an iced tea maker like this cold brew glass pitcher to easily make cold brew tea.
  • Hibiscus tea can be brewed and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Keep it covered or airtight glass container or pitcher.
  • Loose dried hibiscus and tea sachets should be stored in an airtight container away from light, odors, humidity, and heat.

Questions You May Have

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 a little tart, like a mild cranberry.

Is there caffeine?

No, there is no caffeine in hibiscus tea. 

Cold brewed hibiscus tea in a glass with ice.

Did you make this? Please leave a star rating below or a review in the comments section.

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Hibiscus Tea

Author: Jee Choe
How to brew hibiscus tea properly to make the perfect cup every time. 
4.9 from 10 votes
Prep Time 2 mins
Steep Time 5 mins
Total Time 7 mins
Course Drinks
Yield1 serving

INGREDIENTS
 

INSTRUCTIONS
 

  • Boil water.
    If using an electric kettle with temperature setting, set it to 208°F. Boil a little more water than needed so that it can be used to warm up the teapot. Filtered water is best.
  • Warm up teapot.
    Pour some hot water into a teapot and swirl it around. Discard the water.
    Warming up the teapot is an extra step that all tea professionals take the time to do, so that when the tea steeps, the water temperature won't drop drastically.
  • Put hibiscus tea into the teapot and add hot water. Cover teapot and steep for 5 minutes.
  • Strain hibiscus flowers and pour hot tea into a teacup.

NOTES

How to Make Cold Brew Hibiscus Iced Tea

  1. Put dried hibiscus and cool or room temperature water in a pitcher or glass container. Cover pitcher and put in refrigerator for at least 6 hours. Stir to make sure hibiscus get dampened by the water and isn’t sitting dry on top of the water surface. Use filtered water for a better tasting iced tea. 
  2. Strain hibiscus solids and pour tea into a cup. Ice is optional since the tea is already cold.

Brewing Guide

Hot Hibiscus Tea
  • TEA: 1 ½ teaspoons dried hibiscus or 1 tea bag
  • WATER: 1 cup (8 oz.)
  • WATER TEMPERATURE: 208°F
  • STEEP TIME: 5 minutes
Cold Brew Hibiscus Iced Tea
  • TEA: 1 ½ teaspoons dried hibiscus or 1 tea bag
  • WATER: 1 cup (8 oz.)
  • WATER TEMPERATURE: Cold water
  • STEEP TIME: 12 hours in the refrigerator

Tips

  • Use loose tea instead of tea bags for a better quality cup of tea.
  • For a stronger cup of hibiscus tea, add a couple of more minutes to your steep time or add 1/2 teaspoon more of hibiscus.
  • Use a glass teapot to make herbal tea so you can see the pretty herbals in water.
  • Hibiscus tea can be served with or without sugar. If you want to sweeten hot tea, you can use any kind of sweetener from sugar to date syrup, but for sweetening iced tea, always use simple syrup since it’ll be the easiest to mix into a cold drink.
  • Herbal teas like hibiscus are a lot easier to brew than other types of teas since it doesn’t get overly bitter if brewed for more than 5 minutes so don’t worry if it steeps for longer.
  • Tastes great when mixed with lemonade.
  • Hibiscus is often used in drinks to naturally color it pink.
  • Hibiscus tea can be brewed and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Keep it covered or airtight glass container or pitcher.
  • Loose dried hibiscus and tea sachets should be stored in an airtight container away from light, odors, humidity, and heat.

NUTRITION

Calories: 3 | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Iron: 1mg
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21 thoughts on “Hibiscus Tea: What It is, Steps to Make It Properly, and Benefits”

  1. My husband got me drinking this. I didn’t know what it was and have been calling it flower water. I finally asked tonight and they told me the Spanish name (they are mexican). I love drinking it. Had no idea of all the properties of it. I normally put some water in a saucepan, add flowers, bring to a boil, let sit for a minute, then pour into a measure cup with 2 chipsof sugar, stir, pour into gallon jug, and add cold water. Shake jug after filed to stir up sugar. Husband loves it sweet. I have to add more water to mine to lose some of the sweetness.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    I loves this tea I drink it cold and hot thanks for the info on sweeten with simple syrup never thought of that.

    Reply
  3. I like to make cold brew hibiscus tea and add some lime juice and sweeten it with raw cane sugar, served with lots if ice which is the Mexican drink “Agua de Jamaica”. Tastes so good.

    Reply
  4. I follow your steeping procedure, but I add dry mint leaves and cinnamon powder. No sugar or any sweetener added. It tastes good and refreshing. Is what I did alright?

    Reply
    • Hi Urmila, the powder is like a concentrate so it’ll be very tart if you use too much. I would use 1/8 teaspoon at a time and taste and add more powder if needed.

      Reply
  5. I love hibiscus tea. I hot brew mine and then put it in a container in the fridge (usually over night) so I can drink it cold. When I drink mine, I add a little french vanilla creamer and it gives it a sweet and tart taste to it. It’s delicious. Thank you for promoting hibiscus tea!!

    Reply
  6. I love hibiscus! I will have to try from the list you gave us. I’ve always pronounced the “hi” in hibiscus like saying “inhibit” or “hit.” Apparently I like to be different!

    Reply
  7. 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/

    Reply
      • I love your blog! I’ve tried so many of your recipes and the results were marvelous. How many flowers would be required to make one serving of tea? I grow a variety of these flowers in my garden.

        Reply
        • Hi Suhani, 2 whole, dried flowers should be a good starting place for a cup of water. Lucky that you grow them in your garden!

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