What is Hibiscus Tea Made Of?

Posted: 09/28/2021

As the days grow shorter and a chill permeates your home, you may find yourself craving the comfort of a warm afternoon beverage. You do not want to be kept awake all night by consuming caffeine too late in the day, so you opt for a steaming cup of herbal tea.

Herbal teas offer satisfying warmth without the caffeine boost you get from black and green tea. Plus, herbal teas come in a wide range of flavors so there is sure to be one to please your palate—like, say, hibiscus tea.

What is hibiscus tea and is hibiscus tea caffeine-free? If you have not already tried this slightly sweet, slightly tart herbal tea made from the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower, you are in for a treat. Hibiscus tea is a popular herbal tea sold worldwide that can be blended with many different herbs and spices to create unique flavors. Plus, it is also caffeine free.  

What Part of Hibiscus Is Used for Tea?

Hibiscus tea is crafted using the dried hibiscus petals or the calyx of the flowers. The calyx is the part of the flower that contains the sepals, which are the small, green pieces that protect the flower bud. 

Once the petals are dried, they can be blended with other ingredients to make flavored teas or steeped in boiling water to make traditional hibiscus tea, which sings with notes of floral sweetness.

Additional Ingredients in Hibiscus Teas

Hibiscus has a tart and subtly sweet flavor that many compare to the taste of cranberries. The fruity elements of hibiscus plant make it an excellent partner when it is blended with:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Vanilla
  • Coconut

You will commonly find hibiscus flower tea blends that have a fresh, summery or tropical taste. These tart tea flavors are excellent when served either hot or over ice. 

What Else Is Hibiscus Used For?

Tea is not the only drink you can find that is made from hibiscus. Dried hibiscus flower is a popular ingredient in a variety of drinks around the world, including:

  • Tart tea
  • Roselle-ade in Egypt and Mexico
  • Spiced holiday drinks in Jamaica and West Africa
  • Coffee substitutes in some African countries

These drinks, like hibiscus tea, can be enjoyed as a hot or over ice, depending on the season in which they are served. 

How is Hibiscus Tea Produced?

When Hibiscus flowers are in full bloom, the calyxes are removed to make herbal tea. Then, tea producers dry the calyxes in one of two ways: 

  • Lying them on a drying rack in the sun 
  • Using an indoor dehydrator

The outdoor drying process can take anywhere from three days to a full week, depending on the temperature and humidity levels. Dehydrators will significantly speed up the drying process.

After the calyxes are dry, they are packaged and sold as plain hibiscus tea or blended with other ingredients for a flavored tea.

Once distributed, the tea is made by steeping the hibiscus in boiling water. The amount of time needed for proper steeping will vary from 5-7 minutes, depending on the strength of flavor you desire.

Does Hibiscus Tea Go Bad?

The good news for tea enthusiasts is that tea never really “goes bad” or gets stale. However, tea will begin to lose flavor and phytochemicals, or flavonoids, if not stored properly. On average, you can expect your tea to hold onto its optimal flavor for about two years. These potential boosts will also begin to fade after two years.

Storing Your Tea

The best way to keep your tart tea in tip-top shape is to protect it from the elements in your kitchen that will cause it to degrade faster. The enemies of fresh tea are heat, moisture and light. To that end, keep your hibiscus tea fresh and flavorful by: 

  • Keeping the tea leaves or tea bag in an airtight container
  • Storing your tea away from the stove and sink

The type of tea you purchase may also have an impact on how long it remains fresh. Fully intact, fermented tea leaves will last the longest. A tea bag typically contains smaller, more refined  pieces of tea leaves for rapid steeping and can often lose flavor more quickly than loose leaf teas made with full leaves.

Discover Hibiscus Tea with The Republic of Tea

Hibiscus tea can meet your tea needs year-round. Its tart, fruity flavor is delicious, whether it’s steeped for a hot cuppa or made into hibiscus iced tea. When stored properly, your dried hibiscus tea will last for up to two years before it begins to fade. If you want to learn more about hibiscus teas and other blends, read our resources on how long to steep hibiscus tea and thebenefits of hibiscus tea.

If you are ready to upgrade your tea collection, visit The Republic of Tea.

We have several premium hibiscus blends to help you get acquainted with this fruity herbal tea. Whether you are looking for a sweet strawberry blend or a tropical pineapple-lychee fusion, fill your cup with The Republic of Tea.

*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.


Britannica. Roselle Plant. https://www.britannica.com/plant/roselle-plant

Purdue University. Roselle: Hibiscus sabdariffa L. https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/roselle.html#Food%20Uses

Tufts.edu. How Long Can You Store Tea Before it Starts to Lose its Taste and Nutritional Benefits. https://now.tufts.edu/articles/tea-storage-length-time-fresh-nutrients

Tufts.edu. Tea Time is Healthy Time. http://tuftsjournal.tufts.edu/2008/12_1/briefs/01/

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