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Sun Tea – Simple and Frugal Drink for Summertime

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Try Sun Tea as a simple and frugal drink for the summertime! A fraction of the cost of iced tea which is perfect if you are serving a crowd for a picnic.

Sun Tea – Frugal Option for Summertime

Iced tea is just one of those drinks that makes you automatically think of summertime ….sitting out on the porch visiting with friends or family as you sip your iced tea.  When my husband was growing up in the midwest, it was a frequent occurrence to have a jar of Sun Tea brewing on their back deck, so they could enjoy their iced tea all summer long. Sun Tea was so popular as it was a fraction of the cost of buying iced tea in the stores, but more importantly, you could make the tea taste exactly how you wanted it.  For those who prefer a stronger flavor, then you could add in more tea bags – if you prefer a lighter taste, just take away a tea bag or two.

A big part of the appeal of Sun Tea is that it is so simple to make with very little effort and you could have so many different combinations of taste so you’re certain to be able to find a few combinations that you enjoy. You can vary the type of tea and even use a combination of a few flavors of tea for even more options. Black Tea is the most common type of tea to give you that yummy iced tea flavor, but try some other kinds of tea, too, so that you can see if there are any other flavors you like for variety.

Add a citrus or mint flavor at the end to change the flavor up from your typical blend for iced tea. Add in a slice or two of lemon, orange, or tangerine for a little extra zest. Or a sprig of fresh mint for added flavor.

I love how frugal Sun Tea is as compared to buying pre-made iced tea in the stores. My husband loves ice tea and he can drink quite a bit of it, so it helps cut down our budget to be able to buy black tea packets in bulk as one of the only expenses for making iced tea. You also know what is going into your Sun Tea that you make on your own for you & your family.

How to Make Sun Tea:

Ingredients for Sun Tea

Ingredients::

  • Tea Bags – 6 to 8 tea bags per gallon  (the flavor is up to you – we used a generic brand of Black Tea)
  • Water
  • Glass Jug/container (pitcher, beverage dispenser, etc) – my husband found the glass dispenser above at Walmart for under $6. You do want to make sure you use glass & not plastic as the plastic can leach into the drink by sitting in the hot sun.
  • Flavoring for your tea – sugar/honey/agave syrup (for sweet tea), lemon/orange/lime for citrus flavor, mint, etc

Directions:

Fill a 1 gallon size glass container  with cold water.

Sun Tea using Black Tea, Water & Sun

Add 6 – 8 tea bags to the 1 gallon container and hang the tags over the edge so they don’t fall in.

Sun Tea - a frugal drink for the summertime!

(this picture is after just a few minutes)

Place the container in the direct sun for 3-5 hours. This amount of time seemed to work well for us here in the Northwest; however, if you’re in a different part of the US where the sun is much stronger/hotter, you may only need 2-3 hours.

When it’s a golden amber color (and you’ve taste tested to make sure you like the flavor), take it out of the sun and take out the tea bags out of the container/beverage dispenser.

Place it in the fridge to chill or pour it over ice right away.

Try Sun Tea for a simple and frugal drink for summertime

Serve with a sprig of mint or slice of lemon or orange for a fresh, citrusy flavor in your tea.

Quite honestly, you really don’t need the sun to make this – you could just let the tea bags sit in the water for awhile & it will still steep and taste like iced tea, as we’ve tried that too (it does take longer for the full flavor). However, my husband found that the flavor wasn’t quite as rich as when it was sitting in the sun, so you might need more of the flavorings.

How to Sweeten your Sun Tea:

There are several ways to make your Sun tea sweeter, without using regular sugar granules which will not mix well.  You can use honey or agave syrup and stir it well.  Or try this method for adding sugar that will dissolve well within your drink:

Sweetened Sun Tea:

Add 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of boiling water on the stove.

Mix it up well until it is dissolved.

Add this sugar mix to your tea and stir well.

Add your sugar mix to the Sun tea and either chill for awhile or serve over ice.

Need a glass container to make your Sun Tea – here are a few options:

Better Homes & Gardens Beverage Dispenser

Better Homes & Gardens 1 Gallon Beverage Dispenser

  • Glass dispenser
  • Stylish color spigot
  • Iron lid

Circleware Glass Dispenser

Circleware Knockout Punch Glass Beverage Drink Dispenser with Locking Glass Hermetic Lid, 1 Gallon

  • Strong, Sturdy, High Quality, and Stylish
  • Great For Any Event Durable For Daily Use
  • Great for parties,Just Add Some Ice Tea Mix, Save Money On Bottled Drinks, Save The Mess , Relax and ENJOY the Party!
  • RECOMMENDED USES: These are perfect party decorations. Depending on the theme you will find use for them. Perfect for your best selling beverage, They make great gifts for any occasion. These are perfect for: Christmas, Birthday Gifts, Wedding Party, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, Housewarming, Retirement, New Years, College Graduation, St. Patrick’s Day, Congratulations, Job Promotion, New Job, Stocking Stuffers and Secret Santa Gifts!

Glass Mason Jar 2 Gallon Dispenser

ChefLand Georgia Peach 2 Gallon Mason Glass Jar Beverage Dispenser with Stand – this is one that I just got with a gift card for my birthday as I was looking for a 2 gallon mason jar dispenser. I love this one!

  • Crafted From High Quality Durable Glass
  • Metal Cap with a Traditional Tin Screw off Lid
  • Includes Designed Sturdy Metal Stand
  • Great for Your Wedding Party And Bar
  • Capacity 2 Gallon

Printable Recipe for Sun Tea::

If you’d like to print off the recipe to add to your recipe binder or notebook, here’s the printable version::

Print
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Sun Tea - Frugal Option for Summertime

Sun Tea – Simple and Frugal Recipe for Summertime


Ingredients

  • Tea Bags – 6-8 bags per gallon (the flavor is up to you – we used a generic brand of Black Tea)
  • Water
  • Glass Jug/container (pitcher, beverage dispenser, etc) – Use glass not plastic
  • Flavoring for your tea – sugar/honey/agave syrup (for sweet tea), lemon/orange/lime for citrus flavor, mint, & more

Instructions

  1. Fill a 1 gallon size glass container with cold water.
  2. Add 6 – 8 tea bags to the 1 gallon container and hang the tags over the edge so they don’t fall in.
  3. Place the container in the direct sun for 3-5 hours. (time may vary depending on the heat of the day)
  4. When it’s a golden amber color (and you’ve taste tested to make sure you like the flavor), take it out of the sun and take out the tea bags out of the container/beverage dispenser.
  5. Place it in the fridge to chill or pour it over ice right away.
  6. Serve with a sprig of mint or lemon or orange for a fresh, citrusy flavor in your tea.

Check out more summer drink recipes::

Strawberry Lemonade Recipe

Easy Strawberry Lemonade

DIY Iced Coffee & Homemade Syrups

DIY Iced Coffee with Homemade Syrups

Mango Kiwi Avocado Smoothie

Mango Kiwi Avocado Smoothie

Have you ever made Sun Tea? What are your favorite varieties of tea or variations that you make? 

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