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Soaking up the summer rays, and taking tea the way they used to. Making sun tea feels a lot like a long lost tradition from an older time. And that’s exactly what it is! Born out of necessity, this throwback brewing method would have a lot of people confused nowadays. In reality it makes quite a bit of sense. On a hot July afternoon, the last thing you’d want to do is turn on your stove. What you end up with is a slow release, and a more mellow version of your favorite iced tea! To help you get into the spirit of this throwback brewing method this summer, we’re going to review the best tea for sun tea. Getting just the right flavor for a balanced and enjoyable glass of tea to help you beat the heat!
See also: In the mood for some more delicious iced tea? Check out this iced tea copycat recipe you don’t want to miss!
What is Sun Tea?
Sun tea is a practical and retro twist on our classic iced tea that’s made for sweltering hot summers. If you’ve got a large glass jug, a bunch of tea bags and some patience, it’s just about everything you need to make your own! Believe it or not, you don’t need boiling hot water to extract all of that goodness out of tea leaves. Besides cold brewing, tea can brew just fine in warm water too. Given some time, patience and a sunny day you can get yourself a full batch of tea in just a few hours without having to turn on the stove.
And that’s exactly the point. Sun tea takes quite a bit longer, but lets you save on running heat generating burners in the warmest month of the year. And, depending on which state (or country) you live in, that can be the difference between a comfortable, and sweaty day.
Is Sun Tea Good For You?
Tea has a ton of intrinsic health benefits, all of which are extracted when you brew a cup, or jug of tea! You’ll typically get a lower number of these revitalizing and healthy compounds when you brew tea in the sun, versus exposing tea leaves to boiling water. But, that doesn’t mean that you’re not enjoying something tasty, and rather healthy. (especially if you opt to leave out any sweeteners!)
Tea is good for you, whether or not sun tea is a healthy beverage depends on a few factors. What you put in it, how you brew it and how much of it you drink! Here’s a few things to consider:
Brewing in the sun can expose your drink to lots of bacteria. Unlike food, drinks can sit exposed to regular environmental temperatures without consequence. That being said, sun tea is made by brewing tea in the sunlight, in a sealed container for several hours. This creates a fertile breeding ground for bacteria inside of the container, thanks to the ideal conditions. Moisture and heat are the two biggest culprits here.
There’s a couple of simple precautions you can take to make sure it won’t become cause for concern, though.
Don’t include sugar in the tea and water mixture until you’re ready to enjoy the drink. Sugars, simple carbohydrates, are what microorganisms use for food. So they’re great for sweetening you tea, but not for brewing it.
Do Thoroughly wash your container before brewing your sun tea. Use boiling water from an electric kettle if possible. If not, run it through a high temperature rinse cycle in the dishwasher without soap. Fill it with water and tea immediately after cleaning to ensure there’s as little contaminants as possible. (Take care to make sure the glass you’re using can withstand cleaning before doing so to avoid broken jars and jugs!)
Keeping those precautions in mind, sun tea is a perfectly safe and healthy drink for you to enjoy!
What is the Best Tea for Sun Tea?
There’s a lot of factors that might affect which tea will best suit you. Does caffeine content matter? How much are you making? And, do you want a classic Southern-style iced tea taste, or something a little more fruity and fun?
We’ll cover the best teas for each and every type of sun tea you could possibly imagine! No matter which one you go with, you can be sure you’ll end up with a tasty and refreshing batch of tea each time! There’s a lot of ways to take your tea when you throw it in a jug and set it outside, but these are our personal favorites!
The Best Tea for Making Southern-Style Sun Tea
Luzianne Iced Tea Bags
For those of you who don’t know, Luzianne is the real deal. When it comes to a jug of sweet tea, southern-style tea or whatever you call it, this stuff makes the most authentic and nostalgic tasting brew on the planet. They also sell a blend that’s specially blended for cold brewing, but either one will do just fine. This is a mellow, easy-going blend of black teas that makes for a delicious and smooth tasting tea that takes sweetener well. It also goes great with lemon, which you can add to your sun tea jug after it’s done brewing! It has the caffeine content of an average glass of black tea, about 42mg per 8ozs to be precise. That being said, it may be just a touch lower if you’re brewing it in the sun.
Green Tea for a Healthy Batch of Sun Tea
Twinings Jasmine Green Tea
This blend of green tea by Twinings features the aromatic and floral notes of jasmine. It’s a refreshing blend that takes some of the little bitterness of green tea to create a sensational drink. Used in the sun tea brewing method, you can get yourself a tea that might not require any sweetener at all. (Depending on your tastes!) Green tea is a remarkably healthy drink, perhaps one of the best for heart-healthy flavonoids, as well as antioxidants. It helps you along with anything from inflammation, to a sore stomach and even bad breath! Green tea really does deserve all of the hype it gets for being a rejuvenating, refreshing and enjoyable tea. If you’re looking for a healthier way to enjoy your sun tea this summer, this blend provides the perfect flavor for a well balanced glass of tea.
Caffeine-Free Tea for Making Sun Tea
Tazo, (Starbuck’s own in-house tea brand), has a line of herbal, and traditional tea blends that would go great iced or sun-tea brewed. This one in particular brings refreshing passion fruit, rose hips and orange peel, as well as hibiscus for a potent and deep-bodied tasting herbal tea! It’s naturally caffeine free, since it does not contain tea leaves. On a particularly hot day, this herbal blend is perfect for helping you stay hydrated and satisfied, especially if you throw a few ice cubes into the mix. Enjoy this floral and refreshing herbal sun tea over lunch for a naturally sweet, easy-drinking and rejuvenating beverage!
The Best Tea for Making Fresh Fruity Sun Tea
Celestial Seasonings Fruit Tea Sampler
Make your own fruity and refreshing sun tea blend with this pack of 5 fruit herbal teas from Celestial Seasonings. They’re known for their full-bodied fruit and herbal tea blends that pack a lot of flavor into each and every tea bag. This sampler box features a line of fruit teas, any of which you could combine for the ultimate fruity sun tea blend! The rich color and deep flavor Celestial Seasonings teas have is incredible, and they would fare well brewing without boiling water. These are also naturally caffeine free, so you can turn to them for an evening treat. Since there’s no caffeine, it’s also great for kids!
The Best Tea for Making Peppermint Sun Tea
You heard that right! This caffeine-free delight is the ultimate herbal kick your sun tea routine needed. Try making some of this stuff to see just how excited we are for it to be ready. Pour over ice after it’s done, and it will have the whole block singing. The best thing about it? It’s incredibly healthy! Peppermint tea has a whole host of great benefits for your gastrointestinal system, as well as your stress levels. It provides a cool and refreshing taste, with a subtle and welcome minty finish. For added enjoyment, add some other herbal tea, or black to to make the ultimate sun tea blend! Make sure you let us know how it went, and what you used.
Thanks for checking out the best teas for sun tea! If you love it just as much as we do, be sure to share your blends, methods, tips & tricks as well as recipes with us! Whenever you find a new way to enjoy your favorite drink, it just makes it that much more enjoyable. Have fun sipping on some natural goodness this summer, see you next time!
See also: Here’s a sweet summertime iced tea recipe to kick summer off right!