Sun tea refers to tea that has been brewed by sitting in the heat of the sun. Sun tea is usually made in summer, when the temperature is at least 100°F. Sun tea is not a form of tea - the term instead refers to the method of brewing tea.
Sun tea is brewed slowly, and tea brewed using this method is said to have a mellower taste than tea brewed using conventional methods. The lower temperature of brewing is not as likely to destroy some of the delicate oils and flavors of the tea.
Sun tea is usually drunk as iced tea.
Preparation of sun tea
To make sun tea, place 4-6 tea bags into a clean two-quart glass container, then fill the container with water. Close the lid, and place the container in an area where it can bask in sunlight for 3-5 hours.
The actual length of time the tea should be brewed depends on the strength desired. Once the strength has been reached, the tea should be removed from the sun and placed in the refrigerator.
Sun tea should be consumed within 1-2 days of brewing. As the water has not been boiled, the tea does not maintain as well as iced tea.
Health warnings on sun tea
Sun tea has some health warnings that users should be aware before preparing tea using this method.
Sun tea is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, due to a combination of liquid and warmth. Sun tea that has a thick or syrupy appearance should not be drunk, as it may contain bacteria called Alcaligenes viscolactis.
The water used in making sun tea should be preheated at a minimum of 195°F for 3-5 minutes before using. Sun tea that has been brewed should not remain at room temperature for longer than eight hours. After eight hours, the sun tea should be discarded.