Having lived in the Southeastern part of the U.S. for several years, I never quite managed to understand the phenomenon known as “sweet tea.” Now, after moving away, I think I finally get it. In short, it’s sort of a brown Kool-Aid, especially when made with the teas that have fruit flavors added to them.
A typical “sweet tea” recipe:
- Steep up a double strength batch of your black or green tea of choice (usually about half a gallon).
- Add a cup of sugar to the hot tea and stir well to dissolve.
- Fill a pitcher of sufficient size (a gallon or more) with ice cubes.
- Pour the hot tea into the pitcher over the ice cubes.
Some “sweet teas” I have tried when we first moved here tasted more like a five-pound bag of sugar was added in. That plus the fruit taste (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc.) makes for that “brown Kool-Aid” experience.
Kool-Aid was something we drank a lot of when I was one of those little “rug rats” (or “crumb crunchers” is another term) running around outside and then rushing inside to get a cool beverage. The fruit flavor suited my kiddie tastebuds, and the sugar would hit my bloodstream and recharge me for more running around in the yard.
In my adult years, I lost my taste for so much sweetness and changed to drinking my cold tea both without ice and without sugar. It refreshes much better that way and avoids that Kool-Aid impression. I also don’t get an excess of sugar in my system, not having that childhood, high-gear metabolism.
“Sweet tea” is most definitely a style of tea enjoyment where swigging is encouraged and expected, just as I swigged that Kool-Aid. And now that that has been explained, start swigging. Enjoy!
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