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Hot or Cold

If hot sorrel is tea, then cold sorrel is iced tea, right?
Now we figured that out. Let’s get on with the business at hand.
A glass of cold sorrel generously laced with ginger makes a satisfying refreshing drink on any day.  
Hot sorrel tea?
 Not so much.
The thing is that brewed sorrel by itself has a very strong tart flavor. Even the addition of spices like cloves and orange peel does little to temper the tartness. As such it takes a lot of sugar to make a palatable drink. A normal thing with most Juices and sodas. Hot teas on the other hand, are not typically over sweetened. So, for a long time I’ve been on a quest to figure out a way to brew a tasty, not tart cup of hot sorrel tea.

red sorrel tea in glass mug roselle flowers

Before we dive too deep, it seems important to note that sorrel (dried hibiscus flower) is a traditional Christmas drink in Jamaica. I’m not too sure about other parts of the Caribbean. But over the years, it has gained popularity and now sorrel drinks and tea bags can be found in stores all around the world where Jamaican foods are sold. The petals may be a little easier to find depending on where you are. I have seen sorrel petals in Hispanic stores and other places that do not typically sell the premade drink.

 Trying Something New

As luck would have it, some research for another project led me to a flavor description for Earl Grey tea. With its Bergamot oil infused aroma, I thought this just might be the thing. To fully gauge the impact of the tea bag on the brewed sorrel petals, I decided to skip the orange peel and other spices this time around. There were a couple slices of ginger added to enhance the flavor.

Once the water began to boil the sorrel petals, tea bag, and ginger slices were added to the water. After boiling for about 2 minutes. I turned off the stove and allowed the tea to steep for another 5 minutes before pouring it into a cup. My usual one tablespoon of sugar was added.

sorrel tea with earl grey

So Nice I Did It Twice

I was halfway through the second cup when it occurred to me that the tartness of the sorrel was gone. My tastebuds also noted that the orange essence and the tea had overpowered the sorrel. So for cup #2 I steeped the teabag instead of boiling it with the sorrel. The result was an equally pleasant hint of orange and sorrel with very little evidence of the black tea


Course: Beverages
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: earl grey, hot tea, sorrel, tea
Author: Sian


  • C water
  • 2 sorrel tea bags (or 5 dried petals)
  • 2 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 1 Earl Grey Tea Bag
  • 2 TB sugar


  • Add water to a small saucepan over medium heat. When the water is hot, add the sorrel, ginger, and teabag to the pot. Allow the water to boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cover and let tea steep for 5 minutes. Strain tea into cup(s) sweeten and enjoy.


Serving: 12OZ
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

So, if you are like me and you don’t care for the tart flavor of hot sorrel tea make a note. Keep a pack of Earl Grey tea on hand for just such a time. And if you don’t love tea, like I love tea, there is always Earl Grey Cheesecake. Besides tea, do you use Earl Grey or any other teas in creative ways?  

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