Years ago, I attended an event at a Mexican restaurant in New York City called La Palapa, where I was served the most delicious (non-alcoholic) beverage, Agua de Jamaica. I had never tasted anything like it before – tart, fruity, refreshing and a deep reddish purple in color. It turns out that Agua de Jamaica is another name for hibiscus iced tea, so I looked up a recipe and have been making it at home on occasion ever since – enter my Spiced Hibiscus Green Iced Tea!
What used to a recipe that I’d whip up on occasion during summer months has now turned into something that I make every 2 days in my house. After reading up on the incredible health benefits of hibiscus, I decided that it was something I wanted to try and include in my daily diet. Hibiscus tea has the highest antioxidant content of any beverage, including green tea! Antioxidants are essential to our health – they protect your cells against free radicals, which play a major role in heart disease, cancer, and other diseases by causing damage to your cells and genetic material. Additionally, hibiscus tea can significantly lower blood pressure, reducing our risk for developing hypertension.
I’ve experimented with different flavors of hibiscus tea, and so far my favorite incorporates fresh ginger and cinnamon. I’ve also mixed up the type of citrus peel (try lemon or lime) and have added fresh mint during the steeping time. I’ve also varied the loose leaf teas a bit too (try equal portions of either vanilla rooibos or tulsi in place of the green tea). I order my dried hibiscus from Nuts.com and loose leaf tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. I personally drink it unsweetened, but you can add some pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, or apple juice to taste to sweeten it up a little bit. So as you can see, it’s pretty adaptable! Experiment and see what you like best, but here’s my standard recipe to get you started.