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Thread: Do you make sun tea?

  1. #1
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    Unhappy Do you make sun tea?

    I always make sun tea in the summer, since I never know what kind of container to use for hot tea that I will put on ice. (Plastic will melt, glass will break, etc).

    A friend just told me that it's dangerous to make sun tea, because bacteria can grow very easily in the warm water. I checked it out and snopes.com says that's true!

    http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/suntea.asp

    I don't know of anyone who's gotten sick from sun tea, but we have had food poisoning in our household and I do NOT want to go thru that again!

    Does anyone brew hot tea for iced tea? What kind of container do you brew it in?
    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

  2. #2
    Funny you should ask

    I made 2 pots of tea this weekend. I bring 4-6 cups water in a saucepan to a boil and turn off the heat and add 4-5 tea bags and let it steep for ~4-5 minutes right in the pot. Oh, I make sure there is enough room to add some ice after steeping. I remove the tea bags and add a cup or 2 of ice so everything can cool down right in the pan.
    Then it gets poured into whatever pitcher I have handy. Right now it's in a Tupperware pitcher, but sometimes it goes into my glass pitcher.

    eta: I have made sun tea. Currently I don't have a glass jar (sun tea jar) to steep it in outside so I've just been using the process above.

  3. #3
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    Keep your sun tea jar and use it. Brew maybe 2-3 cups of water with 4-5 tea bags, basically making super strong tea. Let it cool for maybe 5 minutes. Then dump it in the sun tea jar and add enough cool water to fill the jar/to your taste. Stick in the fridge and you have cold tea.


    Having said all of that, I am sure I will continue to use my sun tea jar and throw caution to the wind
    - Josie


  4. #4
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    I make the "refrigerator tea" mentioned in the last paragraph of the snopes article you posted. I put the water and the teabags inside the Sun Tea jar...but inside the refrigerator to brew instead out in the sunlight. No boiling. No fuss. No muss. It works fine.
    Life ain't Certain. Ride Your Best Horse First

  5. #5
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    We make the tea in the teapot (double amount of bags) then let it cool a bit before pouring into a glass pitcher and then add cold water/ice to fill pitcher. Refrigerator sun tea works fine too.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  6. #6
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    I made sun tea for many years. If you leave it out a long time or don't refrigerate it after brewing, it will turn. You can tell if it has begun to turn because it will have an off/souring smell to it. It won't smell like fresh tea, and you don't have to get sick to find out. Anything you would want to drink won't make you ill, at least in my experience.

    We don't make sun tea now because we installed an instant hot dispenser in out kitchen and I can make it much faster. I use my 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup, 4 family size tea bags and hot water from the tap. After it sits for a couple of minutes, I pour that and cold water into a gallon pitcher. I can have a gallon of tea made in just a little more time than it would take to get the sun tea jar out, fill it and set it outside -- and I don't have to remember to go outside and get it at the right time or to plan ahead for dinner.

  7. #7
    I haven't made it this year yet because I have been using the Mr. Coffee iced tea maker. I have had it come out cloudy a few times but as soon as it is done brewing I put it in the refrigerator and I normally don't use ice in mine.
    "Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven." - Yiddish Proverb

  8. #8
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    We make our iced tea in this tea maker from adagio: ingenuiTEA

    You brew the tea in the maker and then drain it into a pitcher full of ice.

    We ususally brew loose tea, but we've been known to use it for bags, too. It's very, very convenient!
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White

  9. #9
    I don't get it. Where is the bacteria supposedly coming from?

    Obviously we drink water from the tap with no problem without boiling, so does the warmth of the sun somehow breed bacteria that weren't there before?

    I also have a hard time believing that tea itself is a big harborer of bacteria.

    I don't know, I take most food safety alarms (I practice reasonable safety, but I don't get crazy about it) with a grain of salt and this will be no exception.

  10. #10
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    I think the science of it is that the heat from brewing in the sun helps bacteria already present multiply to a level that our bodies can't fight. A few bacteria it can fight, teeming with them it's overwhelmed.

  11. #11
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    Sun tea always seemed to use too many teabags to get it strong enough, or maybe I just didn't let it set long enough. I haven't heard of anyone making sun tea for several years.
    Margaret

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammster View Post
    Funny you should ask

    I made 2 pots of tea this weekend. I bring 4-6 cups water in a saucepan to a boil and turn off the heat and add 4-5 tea bags and let it steep for ~4-5 minutes right in the pot. Oh, I make sure there is enough room to add some ice after steeping. I remove the tea bags and add a cup or 2 of ice so everything can cool down right in the pan.
    Then it gets poured into whatever pitcher I have handy. Right now it's in a Tupperware pitcher, but sometimes it goes into my glass pitcher.
    I guess I just thought this method would make the tea taste metallic. If it doesn't, I suppose I will try this instead of the sun tea method.
    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by lindrusso View Post
    I don't get it. Where is the bacteria supposedly coming from?

    Obviously we drink water from the tap with no problem without boiling, so does the warmth of the sun somehow breed bacteria that weren't there before?
    Think about drinking fountains. People with all kinds of diseases drink from these and a considerable amount of water that is dispensed is not swallowed but trickled back down or splashed back onto the fountain head for the next person to consume. A lot of fountains are in outdoor areas such as outdoor malls, golf courses, swimming pools, etc. where the fountain is exposed to birds, insects, and other animals 24/7 in the heat of the summer. We never hear about this being a widespread health problem. I wonder if a sealed jar of sun tea really is a health problem or a perceived potential problem.
    Last edited by Gumbeaux; 06-23-2008 at 07:54 PM.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by BucknellAlum View Post
    I guess I just thought this method would make the tea taste metallic. If it doesn't, I suppose I will try this instead of the sun tea method.
    I suppose it could if you use an aluminum pan. I use stainless steel.

  15. #15

    I boil the water and pour it over the tea bags in a Rubbermaid or Tupperware

    Quote Originally Posted by BucknellAlum View Post
    (Plastic will melt, glass will break, etc).

    ADoes anyone brew hot tea for iced tea? What kind of container do you brew it in?
    2 quart pitcher. I've never had one melt. I leave the tea bags in for a few minutes and remove them and refrigerate the pitcher.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbeaux View Post
    I wonder if a sealed jar of sun tea really is a health problem or a perceived potential problem.
    Yeah, I really can't see it.

    My boys like to make sun tea and I won't be stopping them.

  17. #17
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    I make tea in a glass pitcher usually. Very occasionally, I'll make it in a tupperware pitcher. I boil the water in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, then add the tea bags to steep. I pour it into the pitcher while warm (to melt the sugar, of course), then add tepid water to the "right" amount.

    Tea does go bad after a couple of days in the fridge, but we don't really like it refrigerated anyway. Around here, I make a pitcher, we drink a pitcher. No keeping it for a long time.

  18. #18
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    The bacteria become a problem only if the tea is left out too long and/or you don't refrigerate it when it is done. I have only had tea turn on me when I have made it for dinner and the rest got left overnight. It would be the next day that I would notice it start to change. That was before they started warning about sun tea, but I figured out to refrigerate it if we had leftovers.

    I can't stand the taste of tea that starts to turn. I have had it served bad in a couple of restaurants. Once, on the road and going through a drive through, I got old tea. It was too late to go back and get something else when I discovered it, and I didn't think it would be harmful. I drank a fair amount of it due to extreme thirst. I got some stomach cramps, but I did not get really sick. I don't think it is a problem for a healthy person. An older person, very young person, or a person with a weakened immune system for whatever reason could be made sick by it, but most of us would never drink it soured enough to make us sick.

    I think brewed tea can have the same problem, but it takes longer for it to go bad. I don't know if the bacteria is in the water and grows because of the warmth and some food in the tea leaves or if it's on the tea leaves and grows with the warm water. I do know that it does happen, it is a POTENTIAL risk, but it is not a reason not to make sun tea if you enjoy it, have the time but don't brew it too long (I think they say not more than 4 hours) and chill it when it is done. In our hot summer sun, I have wondered if the water doesn't sometimes get hot enough to kill the little buggers.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbeaux View Post
    Think about drinking fountains. People with all kinds of diseases drink from these and a considerable amount of water that is dispensed is not swallowed but trickled back down or splashed back onto the fountain head for the next person to consume. A lot of fountains are in outdoor areas such as outdoor malls, golf courses, swimming pools, etc. where the fountain is exposed to birds, insects, and other animals 24/7 in the heat of the summer. We never hear about this being a widespread health problem. I wonder if a sealed jar of sun tea really is a health problem or a perceived potential problem.
    This is why I haven't had water from a fountain in years.

  20. #20
    I pour boiling hot water into an Anchor Hocking glass pitcher, have been doing this for years and it hasn't boken. I'm not sure I would say that of all glass, but I think Pyrex or Anchor Hocking glass won't shatter.

    Hint: To keep tea from clouding, let it come to room temperature (or close) before refrigerating.

  21. #21
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    I make sun tea a lot. I recently heard about the bacteria warnings, too. But, like some of you, I'm not too worried. It's just tea.

  22. #22
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    I just saw these in the store the other day (I didn't buy them though - but they looked interesting). They are Lipton Cold Brew Tea Bags. Especially designed for brewing tea in cold water. It might be the solution you are looking for.

    http://www.liptont.com/our_products/..._cold_brew.asp

  23. #23
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    I never made sun tea because I heard about the bacteria problem. I used to use my mothers on the stove for hours method, but sometimes it was just to bitter, now I use a take off of Cooks Country's method and it works out great!

    Sweet Ice Tea

    10 tea bags ( I use 12 since I like a stronger brew)
    4 cups water, at room temp
    2 cups juice (I use all water when making just tea)
    6-9 tablespoons Simple Syrup (see my note below)

    Submerge tea bags in water in serving pitcher. Steep for 45 minutes (I steep an hour because I like it stronger). Remove and discard tea bags.

    Stir in juice and Simple Syrup (adjust amount depending on desired sweetness) into tea. Serve over ice.


    Cherry Lime Rickey Ice Tea:
    Make Sweet Tea with 2 cups of cherry juice and use Lime Syrup

    Apple Pie Iced Tea:
    Make Sweet Tea with 2 cups of apple juice and Cinnamon Syrup

    Nantucket Iced Tea:
    Make Sweet Tea with 2 cups cranberry juice and Lime Syrup

    Orangeade Iced Tea
    Make Sweet Tea with 2 cups lemonade and Orange Syrup

    Raz-Ma-Tazz Iced Tea
    Make Sweet Tea with 2 cups cranberry-raspberry juice and Lemon Syrup

    Simple Syrup:

    Heat one cup of sugar, 1 cup of water and any flavorings in a small saucepan over med-high heat until sugar completely dissolves. Cool to room temp. Discard zest, cinnamon sticks, if using. Can be refrigerated for 1 week.

    (when I make plain syrup, I just microwave it for a couple of minutes, I use 2/3 cup of sugar to 2/3 cup water, zap it in a two cup measuring cup, stir, pour over tea bags and proceed with the above instructions. )


    Simple Syrup Ideas:

    Orange, Lemon, or Lime Syrup:
    Add 1 tablespoon grated citrus to simple syrup

    Cinnamon Syrup:
    Add 1 cinnamon stick

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