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How to Make Sun Tea

By Julie Fink
Posted On Jun 29, 2016
How to Make Sun Tea

Fourth of July pool parties and backyard barbeques are upon us. Putting out a large pitcher of thirst quenching iced tea with floating lemons and sparkling ice cubes is always a summer favorite. Oh, and watermelons, lots of watermelons. These cooling, amber-colored summer sips take us all back to childhood and are a must-have for family gatherings on the 4th of July.

So, here are some great tips for steeping your favorite tea bags in the sun. The general idea of making sun tea is to make a large batch of iced tea for summer without having to turn on your stovetop. It’s a fun, natural way to brew your tea – and it’s pretty too!

What kind of tea should I use?

The kind of tea you use is entirely up to you. Traditional southern iced tea is usually made with some sort of black tea blend, like Lipton’s or Luzianne. But feel free to explore and be creative here. If there’s anything I’ve learned about tea-making from my grandmother, it’s that the best iced teas often come from a random blend of whatever kind of tea bags you have lurking in your pantry.

For example, green tea, hibiscus tea, and peach tea blend together to make a marvelous fruity iced tea with a rich red color.

How many tea bags should I use?

The general rule of thumb is to add 8 tea bags per gallon, based on the size of your container. So if you pour 1 ½ gallons of water into a large dispenser, you’ll add 12 teabags.

How long do I leave it in the sun?

Leave the tea to steep between 2-3 hours in the sun. Sometimes, on a hot day, it just takes about one hour.

Sweeten and flavor your tea

Once the sun tea is the color and flavor you’re going for, sweeten the tea if you so desire. I’d suggest using honey or raw cane sugar. Also, add your favorite citrus garnish – I like lemons – and you’re done!


According to the Centers for Disease Control, using the sun’s rays to make tea can facilitate the growth of bacteria. Here are some precautions you should take to avoid bacteria lurking in your sun tea:

  • Do not leave tea to brew in the sunlight for more than three to four hours.
  • Scrub your mason jar or container in warm, soapy water.
  • Do not prepare more tea than you plan to use that day.
  • Refrigerate the drink as soon as it is ready and keep it refrigerated.
  • Discard tea if it appears thick or syrupy. Those ropy strands are bacteria.

Mason Jar Sun Tea Recipe

Cook Time: 2-3 hrs
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Yields: 2 liters

3-4 tea bags of your choice
lemon slices
raw, organic honey


  1. Fill an extra-large mason jar with water, add 3 or 4 of your favorite tea bags and cover with lid.
  2. Place in sun for 2 to 3 hours and let the shining rays pour in heat and energy, bringing out the wonderful tea flavors.
  3. Sweeten with honey and serve at room temperature or cold over ice.
  4. Garnish with mint leaves or lemon wedge.

Resource: thepioneerwoman.com