Recipes from the past, like sun tea, take us back to a time when modern conveniences weren’t as easy to find. When making iced tea this way, you don’t need a kettle. Instead, it makes the drink with the power of the sun. But if you want to make sun tea today, there is a catch. Like a few of Grandma’s recipes, this old-fashioned drink poses a risk to food safety.
What Is Sun Tea?
Sun tea is made in a warm place, like on a kitchen counter or in the summer sun. For sun tea, you don’t have to boil the water like you do for other kinds of iced tea. Just put water and tea bags in a sun tea jar, let them steep for a few hours, and the tea is ready to drink. Even though the steps for making sun tea aren’t too complicated, some people who like it say it tastes better than cold brew tea bags.
Sun Tea: Is it safe?
In some cases, no. Sun-brewed tea usually gets to 130° Fahrenheit, which is great for bringing out the flavor but not hot enough to kill bacteria. The “danger zone” is the range of temperatures between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria can grow and make you sick.
If you still want to make sun tea, make sure your container is clean and your tea bags are clean. To clean tea bags, put them in a shallow bowl or mug, cover them with boiling water, and let them sit for a couple of minutes. Then, keep going with the rest of the sun tea instructions below.
Making cold brew tea is the safest and easiest way to make iced tea. If you put the water and tea bags in the fridge overnight instead of leaving them out in the sun, there is no chance of contamination.
What is the best tea for sun tea?
If you want to make sun tea, it’s best to use black tea instead of herbal tea because the caffeine in black tea may help stop bacteria from spreading in your drink.
You can use either loose black tea or tea bags. Keep in mind that loose-leaf tea will need to be strained after it has been brewed, while bags only need to be taken out. Here are a few tea brands I think are good:
- Tea from Yorkshire
How is sun tea made?
First, clean your tea bags and a 1-gallon glass jar very well. Pour hot water into the jar and add six separate tea bags. You can do it the old-fashioned way and do it on the porch in the summer, or you can do it inside any time of year.
How long should it take to make sun tea? Let the sun tea sit out for 3–4 hours on the counter. Then take out the tea bags and put the tea in the fridge.
How do you make sun tea sweet?
Sun tea can be made sweet in any way you like. I recommend making simple syrup at home or buying a natural sweetener like honey, stevia, or regular sugar.