When helping out at a summer event, I didn't brew hot tea for the iced tea - but just made "sun tea" by soaking the teabags in the urns we had and putting them in the sun. It made tea concentrate, and didn't have to be cooled down very much to drink. It just needed a bit of ice!
By pamphyila from LA, CA
Correct me if I am wrong, but did we not hear on TV, etc. that this method does not raise the temperature high enough to kill bacteria found in tea? I was under the impression we are supposed to bring the water temp to a near boil for a minute or two, then add the tea, then steep for 5 minutes. Just wondering.
I have to agree with hamnurse. I used to do the same thing until I read an article on a health page that made sense. Making it outside and then bringing to a picnic would double the problem of bacteria.I just put in in the frig and it makes tea the same way.
I too have heard that sun tea is not safe. Tea bags have bacteria, germs or whatever, being that it's a natural product. They need to brew in boiling water to kill whatever could make you sick. I know there's plenty of people who've drank sun tea for years with no ill effects but probably isn't the best practice.
I myself never cared for the taste of sun tea. It just isn't that good full-bodied taste that you get from brewing. I bought a Mr Coffee iced tea maker from Wal-Mart for 20 bucks and I can make up to 3 qts quick as a wink. Within just a short period of time you are drinking fresh, delicious, cold iced tea.
Did a bit of research and found that the bacteria come from the water and not the dried tea. (Wouldn't that also be true for water straight from the tap?) And the caffeine in the tea will inhibit any bacteria for a few hours - which is as long as events last! Just put it in a very clean container - and cool it asap - I most make refrigerator tea, which being kept cold is supposed to be oK - But herbal tea does not have the caffeine to inhibit the bacteria - so that would be a problem. I prefer my ice tea on the weak side, actually - so brewed ice tea seems too strong for me.
Caffeine does not kill bacteria. I can't imagine where anyone ever got that. I wouldn't drink sun tea under any circumstances. Maybe 99 percent of the time it is safe but why take a chance. Tea is easy to make with boiling water,
The Centers for Disease Control states brewing sun tea can mean growth of "Alcaligenes viscolactis", a bacteria common in water. Sun-heated water won't get any hotter than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not hot enough to kill off bacteria. If your sun tea gets thick/syrupy and you see ropey strands, that's bacteria.
I've been doing this for years, I actually tried it in 71 when I ran out of butane for my stove, I had a gallon jar & put 4 tea bags into it and added cold water in about 2hrs. I had the best tea I ever drank.
I make it all time now in the summer.
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