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Viral Sun Tea Recipe Harnesses the Power of Sunshine Without The Kettle — Preps in 5 Minutes

Learn how to brew your pitcher safely

When it comes to lazy summer weekends at home, my mother and I love sitting outside with a glass of iced tea. But the foodies of the internet have been buzzing lately with a refreshing new (or should I say, old?) trend: sun tea. This viral recipe uses the sun to create a pitcher of iced tea without needing the stove. So, I decided to give this craze a try and let me tell you, it was worth it. It’s so easy to prep in 5 minutes and you can customize it however you like! Plus, learn the best type of tea bags to use and how to brew safely. Here’s how to make the viral sun tea.

What is sun tea?

While it might seem old-fashioned, sun tea has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to social media. The sun does most of the work for in just a few hours. Check out this TikTok to see the results:

Here’s the science: Sunlight acts as a natural heat source, slowly steeping the tea leaves and releasing their flavor compounds into the water. This low and slow brewing process creates a different taste compared to traditional methods. Sun tea tends to be less bitter and more delicate in flavor.

Related: Steeping Tea Like This Can Double the Amount of Health-Boosting Antioxidants

Tips for the best sun tea

While sun tea is straightforward to make, a few key tips can ensure a delicious and safe beverage:

1. Safety first

Sun tea can become a breeding ground for bacteria if left out for extended periods, especially on very hot days with direct sunlight. So, aim for a sunny day with temperatures between 70°F and 90°F. Place your pitcher in indirect sunlight, like a windowsill or shaded spot outdoors. Additionally, never leave it brewing for more than 4 hours, and always refrigerate it immediately after steeping.

2. Tea bag selection

For optimal results, choose regular-sized tea bags (around 2 grams each) specifically designed for iced tea. These bags are larger than single-serve tea bags and contain more tea leaves, which is ideal for the longer steeping time of sun tea.

3. Choose your flavor

I recommend black tea bags because it holds up well to the extended brewing time and produces a robust flavor. Green tea or herbal blends can be used, but the flavor might be more subtle. So, experiment! Add fruit slices or mint while steeping for a refreshing twist. Or use honey or sugar for sweetness.

4. Use the right container

Opt for a clear glass container over plastic. The heat can cause plastic to alter the flavor and impart chemicals. But if you only have plastic, make sure it’s bisphenol A (BPA) free.

Related: These Teas Ease Allergies Naturally + the Timing Trick That Boosts the Benefit

Easy sun tea recipe

glass of sun tea with mint on outdoor patio with book and sunglasses
creacart/Getty

You’ll love how quick this recipe is from Simply Recipes and it takes just 3 hours under the sun. Remember, the tea will taste milder than traditional brewing, so double the recipe if you prefer a stronger sip.

Ingredients:

  • 4-8 regular tea bags

Directions:

  • Active Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 gallon of tea or 6-8 servings
  1. Put the tea bags into a clean 2 quart or gallon glass container (4 teabags for a 2-quart container, 8 tea bags for a gallon container). Fill with water and cap.
  2. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 hours. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove it from the sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. Enjoy immediately over a glass of ice.

Storage instructions

To ensure the safety and freshness of your sun tea, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 2 days. Remember, sun tea isn’t shelf-stable due to the brewing method, so enjoy it nice and cold!


For more summertime drinks to sip on, check out these recipes below:

Homemade Limeade Tastes Like a Sip of Sunshine — 2 Easy Recipes

Strawberry Horchata Is the Perfect Sweet + Creamy Refreshing Sip — 2 Easy Recipes

This Frozen Mangonada Drink Is Pure Tropical Bliss: Sweet, Spicy + Easy to Make in 10 Minutes

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