Sour and tart, reminiscent of cranberries with a floral-forward note, hibiscus tea is on the rise to be a well-beloved herbal tea. When blended with a dash of syrup, the sourness in hibiscus tea is balanced out to make a delightful drink for any weather.
When summer is around the corner, I like to add ice for a refreshing beverage. When winter comes, a hot cup of hibiscus tea is a great drink to aid my digestion in the evening. Let’s learn more about hibiscus tea.
What Is Hibiscus Tea?
Despite being a tea, it doesn’t have anything to do with the Camellia Sinensis plant. Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea. It’s made by steeping the dried calyxes of the tropical Hibiscus Sabdariffa flowers into boiling water. When brewed, it introduces a beautiful red color into the liquid and releases a strong flavor profile.
You can find several hundred species of hibiscus dispersed in different tropical and subtropical regions. However, the original plant is believed to be from Africa. Today, the hibiscus plant is vastly grown in Thailand, China, and Mexico.
Beyond its tart-forward character, hibiscus tea boasts a wide range of potential health benefits. It may help to lower blood pressure, aid digestion, boost the immune system, and support weight loss.
What Does Hibiscus Tea Taste Like?
A Sharp Tartness
One of the most prominent characteristics of hibiscus tea is its tangy taste, defined by its tartness. Also known as sour tea, hibiscus tea has natural citric acid. For that reason, most people associate the acidic taste in hibiscus tea with cranberry flavor.
A Subtle Sweetness
Hibiscus tea is not an overwhelming kind of tea, thanks to the natural sweetness in the plant. When made right, the tartness will not impact the overall flavor. It will make space for the lingering fruity note and natural sweetness to come forward and pamper your throat. Since the sweet profile doesn’t appear until it washes down your throat, it gives the tea a beautiful aftertaste.
A Hidden Floral Note
Hibiscus tea is interesting because it’s packed with many unnoticed flavors, one of which is the floral note. However, it’s so elegant that it’s likely to diminish once you begin to drink the steeped tea. When steeped properly, the fruity hint contributes a nice counterpoint to the cranberry taste and pads out the strong tartness to make a refreshing drink.
How To Steep Hibiscus Tea Properly
My first impression of drinking hibiscus tea was like a rollercoaster, partly due to me being careless enough to steep it in a completely wrong way. The entire teapot soon turned into a waste, with an insanely strong sourness and pungent tart that made my tongue recoil.
Fortunately, my mother came to the rescue. She decided to put some syrup into it and throw in lots of ice until the overall profile was way more forgiving to the palate. After a few months of brewing hibiscus tea, I finally knew how to brew the right cuppa.
Hot Hibiscus Tea
- Bring 250ml of water to medium heat, add two slices of fresh ginger and slowly bring to a boil.
- Add four grams of dried hibiscus flower into the water and steep for five minutes.
- Turn off the heat, pour it out in a glass and enjoy.
Iced Hibiscus Tea
- First, prepare a hot cup of hibiscus tea using my instruction above.
- Let it cool or store it in the fridge for later.
- Add two tablespoons of sugar or use other substitutes such as maple syrup, coconut sugar, or honey. Adjust the sweetness to your liking.
- Add ice and enjoy.
3 Tasty Hibiscus Tea Recipes To Make At Home
1. Overnight Hibiscus Tea
Chugging down some ice-cold hibiscus tea right after I wake up from a hot summer night is something I look forward to. It’s refreshing and activates my brain for the day ahead.
- Add six grams of dried hibiscus tea into a pitcher or a big jar with hot water and let steep for five to ten minutes.
- While waiting for it to cool down, prepare one cup of mixed berries, add them to the pitcher, and put the tea in the fridge overnight—strain before serving.
- Add your favorite sweetener into a mug, pour the chilled tea in, mix well, and enjoy.
2. Hibiscus Tea With A Black Tea Base
This recipe allows you to fill the gap in the herbal tea with some caffeine. You can either use green tea or black tea, depending on how strong you want your drink to be.
- Bring a quarter cup of sugar and one cup of water to a boil in a saucepan, and keep stirring until dissolved.
- Turn off the heat, and add a quarter cup of dried hibiscus tea, four black tea bags, and orange zest: continue steeping for five minutes.
- Strain with a mesh and enjoy hot or let cool and mix with ice.
- Add a few mint leaves on top of the ice to garnish.
3. Mango Hibiscus Tea
Growing up in a tropical country, I don’t want to miss out on mango for this refreshing drink. Make sure to go for ripe, juicy mango.
- Add three cups of water, one black tea bag, and three tablespoons of sugar into a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, strain, and pour the liquid into a bowl. Then, let it cool.
- Add two more cups of water with ten grams of dried hibiscus tea into the same saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, strain with the mesh, transfer the tea into a separate glass, and let cool.
- Add half a cup of mango puree into a mason jar or a big glass, put ice cubes on top, pour both teas into the glass, mix well, and enjoy.
4 Best Hibiscus Tea Brands
1. The Tao Of Tea
Organic with a warm aftertaste and a delicately spicy kick, this organic loose-leaf hibiscus tea from The Tao Of Tea introduces an uplifting and robust brew. It also contains ginger, so it’s a good way to ease yourself into the world of hibiscus tea. I like to enjoy it hot whenever I have an upset stomach or when the weather is cold.
- Caffeine-free, herbal tea.
- 100% Organic hibiscus flowers and dried ginger.
- Sweet and tart with a warm, spicy aftertaste.
2. Frontier Co-Op
Frontier Co-Op loose-leaf hibiscus tea is Kosher-certified and organic. Each dried flower has a vibrant and bright trumpet shape to create a robust, fruity drink.
- Frontier Co-op offers high quality hibiscus flowers in one pound bulk packaging.
- Frontier Co-op hibiscus flowers are hand-picked and sun-dried which gives the flowers its natural red color and fruity flavor.
- Our bulk hibiscus flowers are certified organic, certified kosher and non-irradiated.
MagJo is a US-based brand that introduces a beautiful resealable kraft pouch tucking 16oz of cut and sifted hibiscus flower inside. It has a wonderful taste with a slightly bitter edge on top and a deep citrus flavor at the base if enjoyed on its own. I usually like to add cinnamon or pumpkin flavor spices with a dash of honey to sweeten it out before adding some ice.
- 16 oz of cut & sifted Hibiscus sabdariffa.
- Packaged in a high-quality, resealable kraft pouch.
- Harvested from family farms that are irrigated by the clean waters of the Faiyum Oasis.
- Packaged in the USA in a clean-room facility.
4. Buddha Tea
For those who don’t have the time to measure each ingredient for the brew, try this hibiscus tea bag from Buddha Tea for a quick and easy cuppa. The brand produces some of the healthiest hibiscus tea without using artificial colors, preservatives, or additives. Plus, it’s also certified with OU Kosher, USDA Organic, and CCOF Organic.
- Ingredients: Organic Hibiscus Flower
- Caffeine-Free, OU Kosher, USDA Organic, CCOF Organic, Gluten-Free
- No artificial colors, preservatives or additives