Learning how to make sun tea is easy and fun! Sweet tea, steeping, and brewing in the summer sun, is a great way to celebrate summer!
Once you taste ice tea brewed from the hot sun, making sun tea will become one of your summer traditions.
I learned How to Make Sun Tea way back in the 70s while living in Central Oregon. Ice Tea is one of my favorite drinks, especially in the summer, which is the perfect time to try different iced tea recipes! There is nothing like an iced filled glass full of sun tea! You’ll have to try my Cranberry Iced Green Tea recipe. It’s pretty tasty too!
How To Make Sun Tea
Growing up in Central Oregon in the 70s, summers were hot and lazy. I know Oregon has a reputation for all the rain and on the west side of the Cascades, that’s pretty true. But on the eastern side of the cascade mountain range, it’s all high desert. It’s cold and snowy in the winter and dry and hot in the summer.
During those hot and dry summers is when I first learned the magic of Sun Tea! That’s when I learned how to make the best sun tea in the world! I’m pretty sure it would be considered a food hack today.
How Do you Make Sun Tea?
All you have to do is place a few tea bags in a gallon jar of water and place it in the HOT sun. That’s it! And in a couple of hours, you’ll have rich, bold, freshly brewed tea to pour over ice.
We had plenty of gallon jars since it was also common to buy raw milk from a local farmer. You know the kind of milk where you’d have to skim the cream off the top? Yep… we had that. Those jars really came in handy.
Sun Tea Instructions
- Gallon Jar – although you can make it in any size.
- Teabags – Use good ole Lipton for classic ice tea, or use any kind you’d like.
How Many Tea Bags for a Gallon of Sun Tea
I use 6 to 10 regular tea bags for one gallon of water. They do have large one-gallon tea bags for brewing ice tea if you’re looking to make it easier.
Fill the jar full of cold water and add all your teabags. Place the lid on and set it outside in the sun.
How Long to Make Sun Tea?
I thought I’d have to wait for the warmer afternoon sun, but with expected temps near 100 degrees today, I had this out at 8 am and it was finished by 10 am. It all depends on the temperatures, so the best way to make sun tea is on a warm day! That’s my advice for the best sun tea recipe. Hot sun, cold water, and tea bags and a little brewing time!
Look how rich and bold that looks!
Once you’re happy with the concentration, just remove the tea bags and place the jar in the refrigerator.
How to Make Sweet Sun Tea?
If you want sweetened tea, just add sugar and stir. I add about 1/2 cup for a hint of sweetness. Simple syrup is also a great way to sweeten ice tea.
If you’re trying to stay away from sugar, but still want some sweetness, try Sweet Drops. I have them in several flavors for my water. My favorite flavors are Lemon, Valencia Orange and Vanilla. I bet the Lemon would be great in this tea.
Fill your glass with ice and pour.
I like lots of ice with my sun tea. Lots and lots of ice. If you like it, add a lemon slice, too.
Now you know how to make sun tea! Time to sit back and enjoy a lazy afternoon.
Sun Tea Recipe
- 6-10 tea bags - I usually use a plain black tea, but other varieties can be used. Or mix and match!
- 1/2 cup sugar - or more.
- Using a gallon sized jar, place your tea bags inside, then fill to the top with cold water.
- Place jar outside in the warm sun.
- If you want to make a smaller amount, in a smaller jar, that's good too! Just reduce the number of teabags.
- I determine when my tea is done, but the color. I like a rich strong tea, so I wait until it's a deep amber.
- Once it's reached the color and boldness you want, bring it back inside and add the sugar. Of course, you can omit the sugar if you want unsweetened tea.
- Serve over a tall glass of ice.
How to Make Sun Tea with Lemon
Depending on how much lemon you want, sometimes just adding a wedge to each glass is enough. Squeeze the wedge and drop into the drink to release the juice. If you want to add lemon to the whole pitcher, the best way is to use a handheld citrus squeezer. Simply squeeze the juice from one lemon (or more) right into the brewed ice tea pitcher, and serve.