Foodie Blogroll

Monday, April 18, 2011

Agua de Flor de Jamaica (Hibiscus Tea)

We are getting into some hot weather lately, so I thought I would bring to you a nice refreshing drink... agua de Jamaica. A refreshing beverage with it's deep ruby color makes for a stunning drink to look at. Popular in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico, it's basically a tea made from hibiscus calyces. I picked some up when I found it in our Save-A-Lot store.
Which is also where I found some piloncillo a Mexican brown sugar that is made from pure, unrefined cane sugar that is pressed into a cone shape. The taste is very similar to brown sugar with a molasses flavor, but does not contain any molasses. You can use it in recipes like you would brown sugar. In Mexico they make it into a drink (agua de panela), like they do with tamarind, (agua de tamarind) and flor de jamaica. You could probably find both in a Mexican or Latin market. To use the piloncillo warm it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds first to soften it enough to cut, grate it if finner sugar is needed.

To make the TEA:

1/2 cup Dried Flower of Jamaica
4 cups water
1/3 cup cane sugar "panela" (more or less to taste)
cinnamon stick, ginger, cloves, nutmeg (optional)
Jamaican rum (optional)
Lime & fresh Mint (garnish optional)
Soak the dried flowers in the water for about 2 hours, or in a sauce pan pour 2 cups of water boiling water over the dried flowers, you can add the sugar, ginger and cinnamon stick at this time. Steep the flowers in the water for about 20 minutes, then add the remaining 2 cups of water.

Strain out the flowers and chill & serve it over Ice. I strained it right into my glass filled with ice. I used the boil method so the sugar would dissolve nicely. I didn't use the cinnamon, spices or rum this time, because I wanted to taste the flavor of the hibiscus first.

It is very refreshing a little tangy which I liked, of course you can add sugar to your taste. Go ahead and add some rum...
...give it that Caribbean flair, and feel like you are in the islands mon!

Hibiscus tea has some health benefits is high in vitamin C and studies have shown that by drinking it it can lower high blood pressure and reduce high cholesterol levels. So enjoy.

The latest update on my baby pineapple...I wanted to show you the purple flowers that pop out on it. They start to bloom at the bottom then work their way up. It was hard to get a good photo of them with this camera.


  1. Is that crane in your backyard? Love the colorful exotic tea.What is called a Panela in Mexico and South america is what is called as Jaggery in India. Even today I did a post of a dish that had a sweet milk sauce using Jaggery/Gur.
    You have a green thumb. That baby pineapple looks awesome!

  2. What a nice refreshing drink! Love the color and the flamingo stirrer! Please continue to post pictures of your pineapple plant. I am excited for you :)

  3. Just a few tips, Piloncillo you never need to soften or grate it, it is usually added to things that are simmering or boiling and it will melt into/ dissintegraet into whatever you put it. (Simmering pot of rice pudding, making cinnamon infused syrups from it, into a pot of well boiling hibiscus, atole drinks, etc.)

    The most common way to use Piloncillo in Mexican cooking is when one is stewing stuff in sugar syrup stuff like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, even potatoes or corn, chilacayote squash, figs, etc. in syrup. Like people throw whole sweet potatoes or large chunks of calabaza and add a little water, cinnamon sticks, sugar cones and bring everything to a boil. here's an example:

    or if your doing more sensetive fruit you got to make the syrup first like when i did guava shells:

    Anotehr thing is making a rice pudding that's simply rice boiled in water that has been infused with cinnamon sticks then sweetened with Piloncillo. Sometimes people use it to make "Champurrado" or regular rice pudding to give it a "unique taste"

    In some other cultures it is used to make simple syrup (boil it in water until it turns into well syrup) infused with aromatics (cloves, or anise seed, lime peel, cinnamon) and is used to smother fritters, etc. here's an example of like taro fritters in syrup:

    Next time you make Hibiscus tea, the easiest way we do it is we bring the Hibiscus flowers in a large pot full of water (we throw like a couple fist fulls) to a rolling boil and when it starts boiling 10- 15 minutes) we shock it with some cold water and when it returns to a boil it get's a deeper color. Finally when it's infused like another 5- 10 minutes we turn off heat and jus add sugar to taste. If you like "Piloncillo" you can add it after you've shocked it with water and it'll melt in. Then wait for it to cool, and sstrain. You can re-use the flowers sometimes :) Same method can be used for like cinnamon tea, mint tea made with mint leaves, basil tea, etc.

    Panela for mexicans though I think is a type of cheese, I think Panela is used by Columbians and some south americans, then Peruvians call it "Chancaca" (hilarious name has the word kaka in it LOL.) and for mexicans i here it by "Piloncillo" (pee-lone-see-o) Cuban call it "Raspadura" and Filipinos call it "Panocha" (which is something vulgar for alot of latin people but that's what the call it lol)

  4. I love the colour of this drink, looks so refreshing as you said:) Your pineapple seems to growing up very nicely:)

  5. Cool Lassi(e) - I wish it was my back yard, he was at the beach that is near us, we were there early and he was checking out the fishermen there. Thanks, now I know what jaggery is, and I can use it in your recipes.

    Biren - thanks, I had to add some rum just so I could use my flamingo stirrer :P

    Nathan - Okay...I should of checked with you first :D Thanks for the tips and info. I thought it was pretty easy to make it this way and the color was very intense. I almost saved the flowers to use them again...good to know I can.

    Jeannie - Thanks, it was refreshing and a pretty red. I'll keep you posted on my pineapple :D

  6. Such a beautiful color and refreshing drink! Love that shots near the beach...

  7. What a great post; exactly what I needed to read right now because we ar getting SNOW tonight. Your coconut is so much fun to follow. You live close to paradise.

  8. I love the color...I got on a red zinger kick last summer...I know your wanting a new camera sells refurbished and used at good prices...I've bought 2 cameras from them...both look there when your ready to buy. Did you get the pot?

  9. Lyndsey...the cane sugar is so similar to our popular 'gula melaka' over here but instead of cane, ours is made from a type of palm tree. the hibiscus tea is interesting. we have it here but it's not very popular. i've never tasted it. i know that hibiscus flowers and leaves when mashed into a paste, makes great hair conditioner and tonic :). btw, i wanted to plant pineapple too but i'm too lazy to wait so long to see it bear fruit.

  10. Rita - thanks, I'll be sure to share more tropical phots.

    Bo - Thanks for the camera info, I'll be sure to check it out. Yes I got the pot, thanks so much...I can't wait to use it (and you know I will).

    petite nyonya - I have seen the palm sugar in solid form in the Asian store that I go to often. Good to know I can use this for that too. I think I will be drinking this "tea" often I really enjoyed it.
    Ha! It does take a long time to fruit, but less in the pot!

  11. oh I adore this drink and that sugar looks amazing, cool pineapple plant and always enjoy the beach pictures you live in a pretty part of the country thanks for the congrats on baby

  12. This is very refreshing in our weathrer right now! Hibiscus is Malaysia's national flower.

  13. That tea sounds just the sort of drink I will enjoy. Thanks. Diane

  14. This sounds so aromatic and tasty! Gorgeous colour too :-)

  15. We make a jamaica drink that is 50/50 cold jamaica tea and fruit juice, poured over ice. This is really good with mango or pineapple juice. The juice adds enough sweetness so that I don't use sugar.

    Beautiful beach photos!


  16. My first couple of times making this tea was hilarious! I put in the same amount of sweetener I do with my black tea mixed with fruit tea, and I'm so glad no one was around with a camera to catch my super-sour face LOL

    It used to be somewhat easy to find this tea at major stores in my location, but now that my parents want some, I can't! I have about 1/4 of my bag left, so that's enough to mail out. I asked the produce guy to order more, and it's been enough time to check back tomorrow. The other place I bought it from said their supplier quit carrying it; I called the supplier and they said they couldn't get it from the farm they ordered it from any longer, so I'm going to order a few bushes from Florida, and collect/dehydrate the calyxes myself, hmph! LOL

  17. Thanks for linking up to the beach party! Add a double shot of rum to mine please ;-)

  18. Hey Lyndsey, Just wanted to let you know I featured your yummy drink for my beach party reminder tonight :-)

  19. Hi Lyndsey,

    Agua de jamaica is a favorite drink of ours here in Mexico, though usually made too sweet. I like to make it at home so I have control over the sweetness. It is so pretty served in glasses full of ice -- brightens any table. And mixed with fruit juice, it is the base for a festive punch.


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