Why We Cold Brew Hibiscus Tea Around the World
Cold brew hibiscus tea, otherwise known as Agua de Jamaica, has quickly become one of my favorite go-to beverages. It’s refreshingly tart and its deep red color is sign that this health beverage is bursting with antioxidants. My preferred way of making this drink is by using organic loose leaf hibiscus but you can also use hibiscus tea bags if you prefer. Both are easy to pack and perfect to bring with you when you're traveling.
As a long time fan of Dr. Gregor, I was thoroughly intrigued to find out that hibiscus tea beat out green tea and every other drink in terms of antioxidant power. That’s right, out of 282 beverages studied, hibiscus tea came out as the healthiest beverage of all!
I was impressed. Even beating out green tea?! Though, I wasn’t about to ditch my beloved jasmine pearl tea, I wanted to find a way to incorporate hibiscus tea on a daily basis for all of its amazing health benefits and since we travel in mainly warm countries I started to cold brew it. Hibiscus tea can be also be prepared as a hot tea but I prefer the crisp smooth taste of cold brewing it which is especially refreshing on a hot day.
Hibiscus Tea Benefits
One of the struggles with long term traveling is the inability to control what you eat. You also can't ensure that the food you’re eating is particularly nutritious. It could either be because of the lack of fresh produce in some of the places we visit or because we eat out a lot and can’t ensure we are always getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. One way we deal with this is by making our own DIY amla and turmeric capsules and another is by drinking hibiscus tea wherever we travel.
We've already mentioned that this incredible health drink is one of most antioxidant packed beverages on the planet but the health benefits of hibiscus tea extend far beyond that. Hibiscus tea is also rich in vitamin C so it is especially beneificial for boosting your immune system. Several studies have shown that hibiscus is extremely effective for those suffering from high blood pressure. Yes, that's right hibiscus tea was as effective as the pharmaceutical medicines used to treat hypertension! Not only that, but drinking hibiscus tea has been said to help with lowering cholesterol as well. As you can see, there are no shortages of hibiscus tea benefits!
Ever since we started slow traveling and started staying for longer periods of time in every place we visit, we have had access to a fridge. This means that we keep a big pitcher of cold freshly brewed hibiscus tea around all the time.
Recipe for Cold Brew Hibiscus Tea
My recipe is as simple as the following:
- Handful of dried hibiscus leaves or 4 tea bags in a pitcher
- 1 and a half liter (50 oz) of cold water
- Leave it to cold brew overnight in the fridge or for at least 6 hours so it has a chance to soak up all of the antioxidants
- Squeeze of lemon or lime for serving
As mentioned, you can also brew with hot water and either drink it warm or let it cool down for later. You can use the same measurements for a hot brew as you would to cold brew hibiscus tea.
I usually serve the tea in mason jars and because of the high acidity of hibiscus I recommend drinking it with a straw so you protect your teeth. At home I have a reusable glass straw that I use and we always bring a pack of reusable organic bamboo straws from Bali with us on the road. We try to avoid plastic straws as much as possible and recommend you do the same as plastic straws simply end up polluting our environment.
Did you know that 500,000,000 (half a billion!) plastic straws are used and thrown away every day in the U.S. alone. It is one of the top 10 most found plastic products in our oceans and it is a catastrophic problem.
I alternate between squeezing in some fresh lime or lemon in the glasses before serving. You can also experiment with adding spices such as cinnamon, clove, or ginger for an extra nutritional boost.
Another great way of serving the cold brewed hibiscus tea is to create a healthy soda type drink by adding hibiscus tea to carbonated water. It makes for a great refreshing and sparkling drink. It also mixes well with rum or vodka for a healthy cocktail!
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