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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

The first leaves of my jungle red hibiscus came out earlier this month.

Jamaica/Hibiscus Tea 1

Remember the jungle red hibiscus blossoms last November?

I made both a hot and cold hibiscus tea. I think most people are familiar with jamaica (hibiscus tea) when dining at Mexican restaurants, but did you know the Chinese also have a hibiscus drink? Just look at the lovely color of my hibiscus iced tea at Tea Station - Alhambra.

Jamaica/Hibiscus Tea 2

Too impatient to wait for the water to boil for tea, I remembered that when Barry had sent me the tree he said I could puree the petals with water and sugar for a refreshing drink. So that's exactly what I did.

I did a ratio of one blossom per cup of water. Please don't just pluck any hibiscus blossoms though. Make sure it's a variety that's edible. Many hibiscus are purely decorative and I'd hate for someone to get sick ingesting the wrong one. If you don't have fresh hibiscus blossoms available, you can find dried hibiscus at most Latino grocery stores. I've also seen sweetened dried hibiscus blossoms at Trader Joe's.

Jamaica/Hibiscus Tea 3

Hibiscus Tea 

For one glass, you'll need:
Petals of 2 hibiscus blossoms
2 cups water
As much sugar as you'd like

Tear off petals of 2 hibiscus blossoms. Add 2 cups of water and as much sugar as you'd like.

Puree until petals are finely minced.

Pour over ice. If you're finicky, you could strain out the petals, but I drank it all down just fine.

And yes, that brilliant color was from pureeing the petals and nothing else.

Jamaica/Hibiscus Tea 4

For a hibiscus tea, steep petals or the whole buds in hot water.

At first, the water might look murky and rather gray. After a while though, it'll turn bright red-purple.

Serve hot, or iced with sugar added.

Jamaica/Hibiscus Tea 5

The hibiscus has a natural sweet-tart taste so you really don't need that much sugar.


And bonus blossom pictures because I couldn't decide which of the three I liked best. The top second photo. Or this one?

Jamaica/Hibiscus Tea 6

Or this one?

Jamaica/Hibiscus Tea 7

Which arrangement was your favorite? Or did you not notice any difference?

My other jungle red hibiscus recipe:
Hibiscus Leaf and Pomegranate Mixed Greens Salad

1 year ago today, the perfect bowl of ramen and meltingly tender pork at Daikokuya Original Noodle & Rice-Bowl - Los Angeles (Little Tokyo).


  1. Look at that gorgeous, deep, rich magenta shade...i am loving it

  2. I love jugo de jamaica that I would get at mexican supermarkets. It's amazing that you have your own hibiscus flowers to make this. I've never seen this jungle red variety - it's gorgeous. I think I prefer the first photo -- the flowers look more appealing in the foreground of that photo. In particular, the flower on the bottom-left of the photo -- you can see better detail of its petals.

  3. This is so pretty! Your plant must grace your garden beautifully!
    I do have this hibiscus....the dried kind in the bag! :)

  4. MCR,
    Magenta! That's the color I couldn't think of while I was typing up this post. I could only think of fuchsia and I knew that was the wrong color.

    oooh, you actually responded to my question. Most people skip over that. :P I think I like the first photo best because of the way it's backlit. But I'm an amateur so I can't really tell. The tree was a plant swap I did with someone in Florida. Pretty cool huh?

    I will offer up some fresh blooms when they're available in exchange for all the bounties of your garden! :)

  5. The first photo is the best. You have both back- and fore- ground and the colour and detail of the petals are wonderful. What magnificent colours! I like, especially, that you can see the detail of the bud in the top right corner.

    The second photo's background is washed out - picture is focussed too heavily on foreground.

    The reverse is the case with the third photo.

    No prizes for guessing my current obsession!

  6. Oanh,
    Haha! Too funny. In all honesty, I have no eye for these things. I just snap and snap and then see what sort-of looks good to me. :)

  7. I love hibiscus tea, but I didn't know how the plant looks like :-)


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