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How to Make Delicious Sweet Tea

Updated on October 9, 2009

You'll Love This Southern Treat!

Sweet tea is so popular in southern parts of the U.S. it's called "the table wine of the south." It's a fixture in refrigerators, and a given at any meal. There is a lot of affection for sweet tea in the south, but you don't have to be southern to make an authentic pitcher of sweet tea!

The versatility of sweet tea is a large part of its appeal. Sweet tea goes well with savory dishes and sweet desserts. You can drink it at any time of the day. You can savor it by sipping it slowly while you chat, or you can gulp it down on a hot summer day.

Much like coffee, sweet tea is a social drink. It can be a good alternative for people who can't tolerate coffee or are sensitive to caffeine. Sweet tea has much less caffeine than brewed coffee, and most people can drink it even late into the night.

Now that you know why sweet tea is so special, let's make a pitcher for your fridge!

2-Quart Sweet Tea Recipe:

Start by filling a pot with slightly more than 1 quart of cold water. Heat the water until it is almost boiling, Once it's hot, put in 4 tea bags. If you use Red Rose tea or another very strong tea, use 3 tea bags.

Allow the tea to steep for at least 10 minutes but not more than 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags without squeezing them. Use your hot pads because the pan handles will be hot.

Pour the hot tea into a glass pitcher and add sugar. The gold standard is 1 cup per 2-quarts of tea, but I find this too sweet. I use 2/3 cup of sugar in my sweet tea. Mix the sugar and hot tea until the sugar dissolves.

At this point, you can either add cold water to get to the 2-quart point, or you can add ice to the hot tea mixture. You can probably guess which I will say is better. When you can, use ice to finish filling up the pitcher. Make sure to stir the tea thoroughly. Most of the ice will melt, and you will be left with perfectly cold sweet tea that doesn't need to be iced in your glass. If you fill the pitcher up with water, you will need to chill it for a few hours before you drink it or put ice in each glass. This will dilute both the tea and the sugar, but it will still taste good.

The Importance of Using a Glass Pitcher

Plastic containers will change the taste of the tea and steal away it's strong, brewed taste. The best sweet tea is stored in a glass container. You will be able to taste the subtle flavor variations in the tea leaves, and the tea will taste fresh longer. Making good sweet tea requires a glass container.

This Tea Will Make You a Believer!

Once you make a pitcher of this sweet tea a few times you will start to crave it, and you will understand why it's so beloved! This is a year-round drink--it's not just for summertime. It's actually quite the opposite--sweet tea is an anytime drink. Drink it with a meal, drink it while you talk to a friend, drink it when you sit down for a break, drink it when you get home from work after a long, hard day!

Relax and enjoy some sweet tea today!


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      Milkmoney 8 years ago

      Awesome! I want some ice cold sweet tea!