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Mexican tea culture

File:Agua de Jamaica.jpg
Agua de Jamaica, a popular iced tea beverage in Mexico

Mexican tea culture is known for its traditional herbal teas which are reputed to have medicinal properties. In recent decades,[when?] imported tea beverages have also become popular in Mexico. Mexican tea recipes have grown in popularity beyond Mexico as well.


Mexico has numerous indigenous herbs that native cultures used to make infusions for centuries before Spanish colonization. Teas from Europe and Asia were not introduced to Mexican agriculture, however, and have yet to reach the level of popularity that they have in many other countries. The climate of Mexico is diverse, ranging from deserts to mountain plateaus and tropical rainforests in the southeast. The southeastern region may be suitable for cultivating imported teas.[1]

A small number of prominent establishments in Mexico City have formal tea rooms, where British-style tea is served, including the Hotel Marquis Reforma and the Presidente Inter-Continental Mexico City hotel.[2]

Herbal teas

Silver and gold tea set on display at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City.

Herbal teas are common in Mexico. Many herb varieties, both indigenous and imported, are sold at Mexican markets. There are many traditional teas that are reputed to have medicinal properties. Medical research is being undertaken to attempt to verify any actual medicinal properties that these traditional teas may have. Some teas have been shown to have health benefits, while others have been shown to have none. Traditional medicinal infusions are common in some Mexican immigrant communities in the United States.[3]

Poleo is a tea made from the Hedeoma drummondii plant. Aside from being used to make a beverage in Mexico, this plant has also been used as a culinary spice by native cultures north of Mexico. Poleo has been found to be rich in antioxidants.[4]

Yerba buena is a name given to a variety of mint teas sold loose in many markets. This is similar to yerba maté, used throughout many Latin American countries as mate, and widely regarded to have health benefits. Mild stomach upset is often remedied with a drink made from lemongrass, or Limón.

Traditional Mexican teas should be consumed with great caution, as incorrect doses of some can be toxic.[5]

Modern teas

See also: agua fresca
Dried flowers of the flor de Jamaica (hibiscus) plant, used to make agua de Jamaica, or Jamaica iced tea

Jamaica iced tea is a popular herbal tea made of the flowers and leaves of the Jamaican hibiscus plant (Hibiscus sabdariffa), known as flor de Jamaica in Mexico. It is served cold and quite sweet with a lot of ice. The ruby red beverage called Hibiscus tea in English-speaking countries is called agua de Jamaica (water of Jamaica) in Mexico, where it is widely available in restaurants and from street vendors.[6]


Champurrado is a Mexican chocolate drink, sometimes incorrectly called "Mexican chocolate tea". It is a popular recipe exported to the United States. This drink is made with chocolate and spice with cinnamon. Champurrado is related to xocoatl, which is a traditional Aztec cocoa-bean drink.


  1. ^ "Mexico". Rate Tea. Retrieved October 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Tea Rooms". Tea Guide. Retrieved October 23, 2011. 
  3. ^ Jane E. Poss, Mary Ann Jezewski, and Armando Gonzalez Stuart (November 2003). "Home Remedies for Type 2 Diabetes Used by Mexican Americans in El Paso, Texas" (PDF). Clinical Nursing Research. No. 4 12: 304–323. doi:10.1177/1054773803256872. Retrieved October 23, 2011. 
  4. ^ Ezequiel Viveros-Valdez; Catalina Rivas-Morales; Pilar Carranza-Rosales; Sandra Mendoza; Guillermo Schmeda-Hirschmann (May–Jun 2008). "Free radical scavengers from the Mexican herbal tea "poleo" (Hedeoma drummondii).". Zeitschrift für Naturforschung. C, Journal of biosciences. 63(5-6): (5-6): 341–6. PMID 18669018. 
  5. ^ "Medicinal plants of Mexico". Sparks Mexico. Retrieved October 23, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Jamaica iced tea". Cooking in Mexico. Retrieved October 23, 2011. 

See also

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