Note: As I’m a Plum Deluxe Ambassador, the links in this article are affiliate links. I’ve found their teas to be some of the best blends I’ve tried over the years, and would not suggest them to my readers if I didn’t drink Plum Deluxe teas myself!
One of my fond childhood memories is of the gallon jar of sun tea that was a constant fixture on my great-grandmother’s porch during the warm months. If you visited Grammy Lila in the summer, sitting around her kitchen table sipping sun tea was a given. (And if you were one of the grandkids, she’d bring down the candy jar that she kept stocked with everyone’s favorites!)
I have one of the big glass jars that used to be Grammy’s, and I use it to brew my own sun tea as soon as it warms up enough so that the tea will brew and not freeze on my front steps.
Grammy Lila used regular old Lipton black tea for her sun tea, and that works just fine. I started out using that for my own sun tea, but soon branched out to green tea. Green tea has a little less caffeine and I’m particularly fond of green teas that are fruit flavored. Blueberry, peach, and pomegranate are favorites, but we’ve tried a number of varieties of Lipton and Bigelow green teas and they’ve all been good. You can use any kind of tea you like though. I brew a batch of Earl Grey now and then, and I’ve tried a lot of herbal teas that were delicious iced. I tried out the newest club blend from Plum Deluxe and it was delicious iced! I’ll definitely be trying some more of their blends in my sun tea brewing this summer.
You’ll need a big glass jar or pitcher. I suggest combing the yard sales or your grandmother’s basement to see if you can find one of these heavy gallon jars, but anything glass with a secure cover will do. The important thing is to brew it in glass, and not plastic. (Brewing in plastic can leach stuff from the heated plastic into your tea and affect the taste. Yuck!) Fill the jar or pitcher with cold water, and then add tea bags or loose tea. I use about 10 of the green tea bags or 4 heaping tablespoons of loose tea for one gallon of water, but you may need to play around with the amount of tea to get the right proportions for the tea you’re using. Put the lid on the jar and set it in the sun in the morning. I leave it on my steps until late afternoon, or bedtime if I forget about it! Remove the tea bags and chill in the fridge. I transfer my tea to a pitcher for easier pouring, and so I can have another batch ready before we run out.
If you like to sweeten your tea, I suggest using honey or a simple syrup as they will mix in better than just granulated sugar. I switched to drinking my iced tea unsweetened several years back, and I honestly don’t miss the sugar, particularly when I brew a tea that includes fruit.
I read an article a couple of years back about concerns over whether sun tea is safe to store in the fridge and drink later. The suggestion in the article was that it may be safer to brew traditionally with boiling water to minimize any contaminants that could make you sick, and to drink the iced tea immediately, and not store leftovers for later. We typically drink a batch within a few days, and it always seems to keep in the fridge OK. I do make sure the jar is thoroughly cleaned between brewing batches as well. However, brew and drink at your own risk. I figure that we grew up drinking the sun tea Grammy Lila kept in her fridge and survived, so I’m not going to stress over it.
Are you an iced tea fan? What kind do you like brewing best in the summer?
If you’re interested in trying Plum Deluxe teas for your summer iced tea brewing, they’ve offered a coupon code for 10% off tea purchases for my readers! Just use this code in the VIP Code field when placing your order: teishknitsreaders