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.

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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 their 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

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. Pregnant women should avoid drinking hibiscus tea.

Hibiscus Teabags 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.) 

Teabags contain small parts of the tea leaves or flowers and is of lower quality.

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

If you’re just making hibiscus tea with just hot or cold water, I recommend using loose dried hibiscus flowers. If you’re using hibiscus for recipes or as a latte with milk, you’re ok with using teabags.

When getting hibiscus in tea bags, make sure there aren’t any additional ingredients.

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:

How to Make Hibiscus Tea Properly

To make any tea properly, it’s all in the details.

Here is what you need to get right to make hibiscus tea perfect each and every time:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of hibiscus for every cup of water (8 fl. oz.)
  • Water: preferably filtered
  • Water temperature: 208°F – 212°F 
  • Steeping time: 5 minutes

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

What I Used to Make Hibiscus Tea Properly 

Warm up teapot and cups.

To make hot hibiscus tea, I like to prepare my teapot and cups by warming them up with hot water. This keeps the tea’s water temperature nice and hot. 

Pour a bit of hot water into your teapot and swirl it around for a couple of seconds to make sure the teapot gets warm. Discard the water. Do the same with your cups.

RELATED: How to Make Tea Properly

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

Put loose hibiscus tea into the warmed teapot.

I like to figure out how big my teapot so I know how much tea I need.

Steep hibiscus tea for 5 minutes in 208°F water. 

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 so I like to brew on the lower end of the water temperature range.

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.

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

Strain hibiscus flowers and pour hot tea into mugs or tea cups.

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.

How to Make Perfect Iced Hibiscus Tea

Measure out 1 1/2 teaspoons of hibiscus for every 3/4 cup of water. 

I’m making less tea since I know it’ll be added to a cup with ice.

Steep hibiscus tea for 5 minutes in 208°F water.

Remember to use an electric kettle with a temperature setting.

Cool down tea and strain tea into a pitcher with ice.

The tea doesn’t need to be cold but it should be at least room temperature before adding it into the pitcher with ice. If the tea is too warm, it’ll melt the ice too quickly.

I like to use my glass teapot with strainer in the lid to filter the tea easily. (It’s also a breeze to wash.)

Pour hibiscus tea into cups with ice.

Look at that gorgeous red!

Hibiscus Tea Tips

  • Use loose hibiscus instead of tea bags when steeping it in just water. 
  • You can also find good quality hibiscus in herbal or health stores. 
  • Always measure the hibiscus, use the correct water temperature, and steep for 5 minutes. 
  • 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.

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
 
 
 
Yield: Makes 1 serving

Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Tea

How to make hibiscus tea properly.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hibiscus tea
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Warm up teapot and cups.
    Pour a bit of hot water into your teapot and swirl it around for a couple of seconds to make sure the teapot gets warm. Discard the water. Do the same with your cups.
  2. Measure out 1 1/2 teaspoons of hibiscus for every cup of water (8 fl. oz.). 
    Put loose hibiscus tea into the warmed teapot.
  3. Steep hibiscus tea for 5 minutes in 208°F water. 
  4. Strain hibiscus flowers and pour hot tea into mugs or tea cups.

Notes

MAKE ICED HIBISCUS TEA

  1. Measure 1 1/2 teaspoons of tea for every 3/4 cup of water.
  2. Steep tea for 5 minutes in 208°F water.
  3. Strain and pour into a cup of 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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