Tea-ol-ogy: Sun Teas
Sun teas or iced teas are the perfect companions for the long, hot summer days and barbeque filled nights. You can enjoy your tea without turning on a hot stove, and quench your seemingly endless thirst. Iced teas can help keep you cool and hydrated during the warm weather season. Sun teas and iced teas are easy to brew and store and you can make large amounts to enjoy over a few days’ time. There are several ways you can make iced tea, and you can add an array of herbs and fresh fruits to boost flavor, create beautiful and bright colors, and keep your teas unique and satisfying all summer long.
True Sun Tea
You can brew tea in a glass pitcher with the heat from the sun. As the sun will never heat the water in a glass jar to a boiling point, you need to let your tea steep for three to four hours. You will use one tea bag per cup of water or 1 ½ teaspoons of loose-leaf tea per cup of water. * Place your glass jar in the direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day in the afternoon. The intensity of the sun will have an effect on the tea as it steeps. As the tea absorbs more sunlight it will become darker and darker. Remove the tea bags and pour the sun-brewed tea over ice, add some fresh lemon slices, sweeten to taste and enjoy! Because the water never reaches a boiling point there are some mild concerns about bacteria growth. Sun tea should be enjoyed within one to two days of brewing and any remaining tea should be immediately stored in the fridge. The caffeine in black and green teas will also help inhibit bacteria growth. Never brew tea in the sun in a plastic container. The radiant heat from the sun breaks down toxic chemicals in plastics that will be leached into the tea.
Cold Brew Iced Tea
You can actually brew tea in your refrigerator completely with cold water, however this will take 8-12 hours to efficiently extract the flavors and nutrients from the tea. Cold brewed teas are said to pull deeper and more pronounced flavors from the tea leaves. Give your loose tea leaves and herbs a light rinse with water before placing them in a tea ball or bag. You will use one tea bag per cup of water or 1 ½ teaspoons of loose-leaf tea per cup of water. * Cover your tea and place in the refrigerator. You can start tasting your tea after two hours until you reach your desired flavor. Remove the tea ball or bags and serve over ice with fruit or herbs of your choice, sweeten to taste and enjoy!
*Tea bags, especially those packaged for sun teas are made from Crush-Tear-Curl (CTC) tea leaves. This means the leaves have been cut or torn which releases their essential oils, affecting taste and aroma. If you want a strong, flavor rich sun tea brew loose-leaf tea, which retains the natural oil content. Always leave space in the tea ball or bag for the loose leaf tea to uncurl for optimal steeping.
Sun & Iced Tea Recipes
Southern Sun Tea
The Sunnyside of Kristen Tea
Mango Sun Tea
Summer Goddess Sun Tea with Chamomile Syrup
In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and add chamomile flowers and cover with a lid. Allow to cool, and then strain into a glass jar. Syrup can be refrigerated for up to one month.
Coconut Lavender Lemonade
Lavender Simple Syrup
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