How Long to Steep Hibiscus Tea

Posted: 10/20/2021

With the many benefits of hibiscus tea, it is no wonder that it has become one of the most popular beverages around the globe. People praise the tart, cranberry-like taste and the dazzling red color that steeped hibiscus tea produces. If you are just discovering this healthy, fruity drink, you are probably wondering how long to steep hibiscus tea.

Is hibiscus tea caffeine-free? Because hibiscus tea is herbal and caffeine-free, you should steep the tea leaves for 5-7 minutes, depending on the flavor you desire. However, there are a few other factors that go into steeping the perfect cup, including choosing the right tea leaves, using the correct water, and heating the water to the right temperature. 

We have put together this handy guide to steeping basics to help you get a delicious cup every time. So, get out your tea kettle, hibiscus petals, and your favorite mug, and let’s get started.

Steeping the Perfect Cup of Hibiscus Tea

Making an outstanding cup of tea requires very little. You will only need the following to get started:

  • Kettle – Electric kettles are ideal because they allow you to control the temperature of the water a little more efficiently. If you do not have an electric kettle, boiling water in a standard one on your stovetop is perfectly fine. 
  • Hibiscus tea – Have your favorite hibiscus tea ready to go once the water has boiled. You can use tea bags or loose-leaf tea. We will discuss the difference between these two types shortly. 
  • Infuser – If you are using loose-leaf tea, you will need a tea infuser or tea ball to place the tea in your cup before steeping it in your water.
  • Filtered water – Filtered spring water is ideal for steeping tea because it will not contain impurities or other elements that can impact the final taste of your tea.
  • Mug with a cover – If you are steeping your tea in a mug, you will need a cover to keep the heat inside the cup while the tea steeps.

Once you have gathered these items, you are ready to begin. Before we get started on steeping your perfect cup, let’s identify which type of tea best suits your taste.

What Kind of Hibiscus Tea Should You Use?

Hibiscus tea is a herbal tea made from the dried calyxes of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. It is a non-caffeinated option for tea enthusiasts that contains high levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants for a healthy boost.

For optimal taste, flavor, and flavonoid content, you should choose full-leaf teas. When tea leaves are broken down into smaller pieces for the tea bag, they begin to lose some of their finer qualities.

That being said, the herbal tea will last for up to two years as long as it is kept:

  • In a tightly sealed container
  • Away from heat and light
  • Free from moisture

Therefore, the best cup will come from full-leaf teas that are not confined to tea bags. However, premium tea bags packaged in air-tight containers can still deliver you to a delicious cup of tea.

How to Steep Hot Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea can be enjoyed either hot or cold. To steep a comforting cup of hot hibiscus tea, follow our quick guide to warm, fruity deliciousness:

  • Step 1: Prepare the water – Heat your water to boiling, or 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, filtered water is best. The amount of boiling water you need depends on how many cups of tea you are planning to prepare. 
  • Step 2: Measure your tea – The ideal amount of tea to use depends on personal preference. More tea will create a cup with a stronger flavor. A good rule of thumb to start with is one teaspoon of tea per 6 ounces of water. If you are using a tea infuser, put the measured tea into the infuser. A single tea bag is also equal to one cup of tea.
  • Step 3: Pour the boiling water over the tea – Whether you are using a mug to steep a single cup or a teapot for multiple servings, make sure you are pouring slowly and carefully. You do not want to splash the hot water on your hands.
  • Step 4: Steep your tea – Once the tea and water are in the mug or teapot, it is time to steep. Make sure you cover the tea so that the heat does not escape. Start with 5 minutes of steeping and then taste the tea. If you would like it a little stronger, steep for another minute or two.
  • Step 5: Remove the infuser or tea bag – Once the tea has reached your desired strength, remove the infuser or tea bag. You can throw it away or keep it for another use. However, your tea may not be as strong the second time around. 
  • Step 6: Relax and enjoy – Your tea is ready to drink. Some people like to add a touch of sugar or honey to balance the tartness of the tea.

How to Steep Iced Hibiscus Tea

The process for the iced hibiscus tea is the same as the process for preparing hot tea. However, there are a few things you will need to consider to ensure you end up with a delightfully refreshing glass of iced hibiscus tea:

  • Chill the tea completely – After your tea has steeped in boiling water, you will want to put it in the refrigerator to chill. Wait until it has chilled completely before taking a sip. 
  • Add ice and flavor – If you serve chilled hibiscus tea over ice, the flavor will dilute as the ice melts. If you want your iced hibiscus tea to retain a stronger flavor, add more tea leaves during the steeping step.
  • Sweeten the tea carefully – Start with just a tiny bit of sweetener or sugar and taste your drink before adding more to ensure your hibiscus iced tea is just how you like it. 

If you make a large pitcher of iced hibiscus tea, you can expect it to remain fresh and tasty in your refrigerator for up to a week. It is a pleasant choice for summer picnics and spring garden parties.

Tea Steeping Dos and Do Nots

Even though the hibiscus tea steeping process is relatively simple, there are a few factors to consider when crafting the perfect cup of tea: 

  • Do test your tea after 5 minutes for tartness – The longer your tea steeps, the tarter it will become. To prevent it from becoming too sour for your taste, start with 5 minutes of steeping time. You can always keep the leaves in the water a little longer if needed.
  • Do use chemical-free tea bags – If you prefer tea bags to loose-leaf tea, make sure you are only using unbleached paper bags. You should also avoid tea bags made from any kind of plastic. The Republic of tea uses round, natural, unbleached tea bags. Once the bag is heated, it can release toxins into your tea.
  • Do experiment with different flavors – Hibiscus tea is tasty on its own. However, there are countless ways to jazz up your daily tea. Do not be afraid to try some of the delightful blends of hibiscus tea out there for a little variety.
  • Do not forget to seal the container holding your tea  – Once you have finished steeping your breakfast cup, make sure you tightly close the container where your tea is stored. Air and light are the enemies of the perfect cup of tea.

Following these simple tips will ensure a perfectly balanced, not too bitter, cup of hibiscus tea.

Tasty Hibiscus Tea Blends for When You Want Something Different

Hibiscus tea’s natural tartness makes it an ideal partner for many different fruits and spices. Think about cranberries and all of the ingredients that pair well with them. Many of the same ingredients also work nicely with hibiscus tea. Some of our favorite hibiscus tea add-ins include:

  • Berries – Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries elevate the fruity flavors of hibiscus teas. They are fragrant, floral, and oh-so-delicious. 
  • Apples – Apples can help add sweetness to a hibiscus tea, and they are perfect in blends with berries or warm spices. 
  • Pineapple – Pineapple and hibiscus flower tea are a lovely match, and the pineapple adds a touch of sweetness that brings out the delicious flavors of hibiscus.
  • Coconut – Sweet and tropical coconut and fruity-floral hibiscus make the perfect partnerships that can be enjoyed hot or cold.
  • Watermelon – Sweet, refreshing watermelon balances the sour notes of hibiscus teas. Plus, it makes for an idyllic summertime refreshment. 
  • Warm spices – Vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger complement the tart taste of cranberry, making them a delightful companion to your cup of hibiscus flower tea.

You can also make your mug of hibiscus tea more special by adding a touch of sugar, honey, or even milk. No matter what your preference, finding the best way to enjoy your tea makes that first sip the more special. 

Steep the Perfect Cup Every Time with The Republic of Tea

If you find yourself still asking, “what is hibiscus tea?” or want to learn more about other types of tea, we have plenty of resources for you to read. At The Republic of Tea, we hope to enrich your tea experience with great-tasting, premium teas from around the world. Fill your cup with a raspberry-rose-hibiscus blend, or get cozy with notes of hibiscus, apple, and vanilla. With The Republic of Tea, your hands and hearts will never run cold—even on the frostiest of mornings. Peruse our premium tea selection today.

*The Site cannot and does not contain medical/health advice. The medical/health information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of medical/health advice. Information and statements about the products on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Epicurious. How to Brew the Perfect Pot of Tea.

Tufts University.  How Long Can You Store Tea Before It Starts to Lose its Taste and Nutritional Benefits?

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