Sun Tea

With the recent warm weather, I have been drinking a lot of iced lemon tea.

However, the other day, I heard of something that I just had to try – sun tea, or tea without a kettle.

It’s quite simple. Take a jug with a good lid, fill with freshly drawn water, and add a number tea bags (I use 3 for 1 litre of water). Give it a good stir, slap the lid on, then simply leave it outside in the sun for 4-5 hours. I give it an occasional stir, but it is not necessary.

When the tea looks a good colour, fish out the tea bags and refrigerate. Once chilled, drink on its own, or flavoured with lemon or mint.

I’ve tried it with both normal tea and rooibos (redbush), and think it tastes as good as iced tea made with boiling water. It might seem like a long-winded way to doing it, but tea made from the kettle has to stand anyway, before it is cool enough to go in the fridge.

Furthermore, when using normal tea, there is no hint of any bitterness, which you sometimes get if you leave it brewing for too long. Because the process is quite gentle, I think the end result is more subtle and delicate. However, that might just be me.


  1. June 30, 2010

    That’s similar to the way I make iced tea except I don’t put it in the sun, I just put a jug of water in the fridge with a couple of Lady Grey tea bags in it and leave overnight. Very nice on a hot day.

    • chris
      June 30, 2010

      I have since been reliably informed that although people have been making sun tea my way for centuries, it is considered by some to be a health risk. The sun can take the tea up to temperatures high enough to promote bacterial growth, but not high enough to kill them. Using real tea mitigates this a little, as the caffeine can have an anti-bacterial effect, but cooking roibus and other herbals this way runs the risk of brewing soup, rather than tea.

      All I can say is I’m still here!

      Anyway, the reference I was was pointed at also talks of the fridge method, so I am going to try that, to be on the safe side.

      • chris
        June 30, 2010

        Fridge tea – excellent advice. I “put some on” when I read your comment, and it is ready already. Tastes nice and smooth, with no bitterness, and good with or without lemon.

      • June 30, 2010

        It was an experiment done when too skint to buy the ice tea mix I liked from Whittards that worked and I’ve not gone back to buying the mix since. Works with fruit tea as well.

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