Ahhh, sun tea. The perfect summer drink on hot Southern California days. Growing up, I remember my mom making sun tea in a huge gallon jar, sometimes with fresh lemon slices, on the hottest days of summer. She would add black tea bags, plenty of spring water, and then just let the sun do all the work.
Drinking that sun tea was pure magic. It quenched your thirst and cooled you down after a long day of playing outside on the weekends. After school, my siblings and I could count on that big jar being the fridge waiting for us for when we got home.
It never lasted long.
Today, I want to teach you the somewhat lost art of how to make sun tea.
How to Make The Perfect Sun Tea Recipe
This time of year is perfect for making great sun tea. All you need is a hot day, a large glass jar or container, good black tea, and a few hours for the tea to steep out in the sun.
I like starting mine in the morning and let it steep while I’m doing work, puttering around the house, or while I’m running errands.
It’s the perfect tea to just put out in the sun and leave for work. When you come back, your tea will full of flavor and perfectly steeped!
Here’s what you need to make perfect sun tea:
• 8 bags of high-quality black tea per gallon of spring water (I use aged Earl Grey)
• Spring water (it doesn’t matter what temperature it is, the tea will steep!)
• A large glass container for steeping (I use a one-gallon mason jar but this container is also popular)
• 1 cup fresh herbs, torn (like mint, lemon balm, or even basil!)
• 2 fresh lemons, sliced – peels and seeds removed to avoid bitterness (you can sub with fresh orange, blood orange, lime, or grapefruit)
• Raw honey to taste (optional – the tea tastes great without it)
Loving Preparation – Sun Tea
1. Add your tea bags and fresh herbs and citrus if using to the jar
2. Fill to the shoulder of the jar with spring water (do not use water from the tap)
3. Cover the top of the jar to keep the bugs out, then place the jar in direct sunlight for at least 4 hours. I typically steep the tea much longer if possible.
4. Once steeped, add some raw honey to taste if desired, then put the whole jar in the fridge. You can remove the tea bags, herbs, and citrus if desired, but keeping them in overnight will deepen the flavor of the sun tea. Remove them the next morning.
5. Keep chilled and enjoy for the next few days.
This tea will stay fresh for about four days max if you remove the tea bags, herbs, and citrus and about three days max if you leave them in longer than overnight.
Pour the sun tea over ice and enjoy on a hot summer day!
Have you ever made sun tea? Please share in the comments below!
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