Sweet Tea is a refreshing elixir of summer. While more common in the south, my northern Yankee husband can’t seem to get enough of it.
I’ve made sweet tea so many different ways, I can’t count them all. Experimenting until I found the perfect balance of sweet and tea. For my husband’s tastes, that is. And friends… and family too.
The amount of time to steep the sweet tea is the greatest variant. I’ve read recipes that merely swish the tea bags in the hot water, to steeping it for as long as 20 minutes.
My dear Southern friend who lives in Alabama instructed me early on to never, ever dunk the tea bags. I couldn’t remember why she said not to… but I didn’t… because she would know. She lives in the south!
But curiosity got the better of me… and I looked it up. And, of course, she was right. You should never dunk and squeeze the tea bag. There’s a scientific reason why.
The U.K.’s SpoonUniversity.com says, “If you do this, chances are you’re compromising your cuppa. The loose leaves in a tea bag contain tannins, a naturally occurring class of compounds with astringent properties. These little devils are also responsible for causing the tea to stain your teeth. When you squeeze out your bag, you’re releasing the dregs where the tannins are most concentrated straight into your tea, making for a bitter drink.”
So now I know… and so do you!
Here’s how I make our Sweet Tea.Print
The pitcher I nearly always use for iced tea is 1 1/2 quarts. Scale this recipe for your size. My rule of thumb is about 6 tablespoon of sugar per quart of liquid.
2 cups boiling water
4 individual size tea bags
1/3 – 1/2 cup sugar
1-quart cold water
Add 4 individual size tea bags into a 1-quart size glass measure. Boil water and add 2 cups to the glass measure.
Let tea steep 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in your pitcher, add sugar and 1 cup of cold water. Stir vigorously until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
Once the tea has steeped, remove the tea bags and discard. Add tea to the pitcher with the sugar water. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add cold water until it reaches the top of your pitcher.
Refrigerator and serve over ice and garnish, if you like, with slices of lemon and mint.