Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sun tea

Sun tea is the only good way to make tea in the summer. It is sweltering today, and drinking hot tea is horrible idea. It dehydrates one when one drinks it by making one sweat even more and also making one cry from discomfort. Making iced tea by just icing hot tea is tricky because if it cools too quickly the vessel will crack from temperature shock. Ugh. Who wants to babysit tea? Why not just stick it out in the yard and neglect it for a while?

Last night I was up til 2 am helping a friend of mine pack for his move, and among the cool free stuff he gave me in his desperation to limit his load was a sun tea jar. Today the Newman Center did not have functioning air conditioning, so people soaked through their shirts while Father gave a snappy homily. I think Mass was done in 40 minutes. Anyway, when I got home I thought it was the perfect time to make sun tea.

It's fairly easy. You stick some water and teabags in the jar and set it out in the sun. Then you check it in an hour to see if it's dark enough. I followed the google recommendation and used 4 bags per quart, and it made tea dark enough in an hour. Next time I want to use fewer bags because I don't need to go through tea that fast, and I'll just set it out for longer.

There was a needless freak-out a few years back about bacteria in sun tea, and its popularity took a dive thanks to terrified reporters. I was just a kid at the time, but I think they may have shown the tea jar and then switched it to sinister black and white. Sun tea will not hurt you. It is a delicious treat on a hot day. Just don't make sun tea in a filthy jar! The healing power of the sun will not protect you. Clean the jar beforehand and you will be fine. Also, don't stir the tea with your filthy arm. Use a spoon to fish the bags out. Take the bags out so the tea doesn't steep too long and so they don't grow stuff on them.


  1. Why notjust make hot tea and let it cool, if it takes an hour for this stuff to brew anyway? ...


  2. It dirties another pot, for one thing. For another, tea cooling agonizingly slowly on your counter is so much worse than tea loitering on your porch, out of sight. It's horrible, horrible I say.

  3. You could let it loiter on your porch, out of sight ...

    And if the SunTeaJar is made of heat-resistant glass, you could make it in that.

  4. That would work great in the winter. But since it is 20-30 F degrees cooler in my house than on the porch, I think putting hot tea outside to cool would not really be so helpful. I do not trust the physical integrity of the SunTeaJar enough to put hot liquids in it. It has a plastic spout coming out of the bottom, and I think the hot tea could hurt that or mess up the seal.

    There is a tea-based beverage that is made in the south on the (gasp) stove. It is sweet tea, and will be the subject of my next post.