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Agua de Jamaica

Agua de jamaica is a popular drink in Mexican restaurants and homes. Enjoy the refreshing benefits of Agua de Jamaica (hibiscus tea) with this easy recipe!

Glass of agua de jamaica with ice and mint garnish

What is agua de jamaica?

Agua de jamaica is one of many aguas frescas drinks. Agua fresca is a light, refreshing drink usually made by blending water with fruit and sugar.

You’ll always see various aguas frescas and horchatas on Mexican menus. They come in so many fun and delicious flavors like watermelon agua or strawberry horchata.

In this case dried jamaica petals are steeped with water and sugar like a tea.

Flor de jamaica is the Spanish word for the hibiscus flower. [Pronounced ha-MY-ca]. The flowers can be used in various ways, such as dried for making tea. You may also see it called sorrel or roselle.  

They’re full of antioxidant benefits and caffeine free.

The color is a beautiful deep maroon with a tart, fruity taste.

You can drink it unsweetened, but I definitely prefer it with sugar. It takes on a fruit punch taste, which is so refreshing on a hot day.

People who don’t like iced tea will be fans of this beverage!

Glass of agua de jamaica with ice. Carafe of agua de jamaica in background

How to make agua de jamaica

Only three ingredients are needed:

I prefer to use white sugar or raw sugar. The amount of sugar is up to you. For this recipe I’ve included half a cup, which is on the not-too-sweet side.

You can add additional sugar to your liking, but it needs to be done while the water is hot or it will not dissolve.

If you want to add sweetener after it’s chilled, you’ll need to use a simple syrup or other liquid sweetener.

Instead of sugar, you can substitute honey, maple syrup, agave, artificial or non-calorie sweetener.

I prefer my agua de jamaica “plain,” but you can also jazz it up with additional ingredients such as cinnamon sticks, ginger root, lime or oranges.

The cinnamon or ginger should be added while steeping, citrus juice should be added after it’s off the heat.

Glass of agua de jamaica with ice and mint garnish

What to do with leftover jamaica flowers

After boiling the flowers you’ll be left with plumped up petals. Instead of throwing away, put them to use!

  1. Add to your compost pile and use as fertilizer for plants.
  2. Whip up homemade chamoy sauce for snacks or mangonadas.
  3. Make candied jamaica:
    • After straining, add the jamaica back to your pot with 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water.
    • Bring to a boil and cook until water has evaporated. Spread on parchment paper to cool.
    • Eat as a snack, use as cocktail garnish, or serve with a charcuterie board.
  1. Cook with onion, peppers and spice and use as a taco filling or make jamaica quesadillas.
  2. Make a 2nd batch of agua de jamaica. The second batch won’t be as strong, but they still have a lot of flavor. You can reduce the amount of water if you want it stronger or add some of the ingredients listed above for additional flavor.
  3. Chop them up and add to nopales salad.

Glass of agua de jamaica with ice and mint garnish

Agua de Jamaica

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Refreshingly sweet and tart agua de jamaica made with dried hibiscus flowers. Serve this authentic Mexican beverage with your favorite tacos!


  • 1 cup dried jamaica (hibiscus/sorrel/roselle)
  • ½ cup white or turbinado sugar (or sweetener of choice)
  • 8 cups water, divided

Optional Ingredients:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 slices of ginger root
  • Orange slices
  • Juice of 1 lime


  1. In a large pot boil 4 cups water, jamaica flowers and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. More sugar can be used if you like it sweeter. Add cinnamon and ginger if using. Boil for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and strain out jamaica. Add tea to pitcher along with 4 cups of cold water. Add lime and/or orange slices, if using, and chill.
  3. Serve with lots of ice.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 67Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 0g

Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.

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