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June is the best month for iced tea drinkers because it marks National Iced Tea Month! Not only does the weather begin to really warm up, but the tea in people’s cups begin to cool down. As I previously said last year, roughly 80 percent of Americans take their tea iced and would not want it any other way.

As always, National Iced Tea Day takes place on June 10 each year. How you want to celebrate it is entirely up to you.

Do something new and different like make some Sun Tea! This tea is a slow brewing but greener way to brew your iced tea.

  • Simply take a large jar or bottle of your choice, add 3-5 teabags of your favorite tea, and fill it with fresh or distilled water.
  • Bring your jar to a bright sunny area either indoors or outdoors and let sit for about 2-4 hours, or however long you would like for it to brew. If you would like, add sweetener according to taste.
  • Once it is done, bring inside and let it sit in the refrigerator so it can cool off and get cold. Add ice and enjoy!

Speaking of ice, what if you don’t like plain watery ice? Try adding tea to your ice cube tray! Brew your tea like you normally would and then add to an ice cube tray. Let it freeze and then add to your favorite tea so your tea does not get watered down by regular ice cubes. This way the flavor in your iced tea stays! Note: I used a heart shaped ice cube tray because I love to have fun with ice!

Of course, you can always make your own iced tea with our store’s own brand and our own favorite teas. Try our Peach Apricot at a baseball game, blackcurrant at your next barbecue, or bring one of my personal favorites, Lady Londonderry for some 4th of July firework watching. Simply brew according to instructions and add some fresh or frozen strawberries for an even sweeter, fruitier tea! Make some of those tea ice cubes to make it even cooler!

However you like your iced tea will make summer a breeze. Always feel free to tell us how you like your iced tea and share your pictures on our social media channels! We love to hear from you!

 

-CD

 

national-iced-tea-month-june

If you have ever used a slow cooker to slow cook something, then you might know that slower is sometimes better. It’s wonderful for foods like beef stew or roasts. I love to slow cook something all day because the r20160608_085026esults are always worth it. The same goes with tea. Depending on the tea you’re brewing, sometimes it’s worth brewing it just a bit longer for a wonderful flavor.

This method applies with Sun Tea. What is Sun Tea? It is tea that has been brewed and left out in the sun for several hours. It is very easy to make.

All you need is about 3-5 teabags of your favorite tea (the most common used is Lipton but I used Yorkshire) or more, depending on how strong you like your tea, distilled or filtered water, and a large clear container with a lid.

 

 

 

  • Simply fill the container with water and add the teabags.
  • Take the container out to a sunny area, either indoors or outdoors, where it gets a lot of sun (or else it’s not sun tea!) and let it stand for about 2-4 hours.
  • Bring it out of the sun and chill in the refrigerator. Once chilled, add sweetener and ice to taste. Enjoy!

Sun Tea is the best during the summer because it puts the summer heat and sun to good use and “boils” the tea for you, saving energy and money on your gas and/or 20160614_151446electric bill. You won’t need to use a kettle so it doesn’t heat up your home. Try making some Sun Tea this summer. You will not be disappointed!

Tips:

  • Try making Sun Tea with other kinds of tea, like green or herbal.
  • Add fruit or herbs with the brew for a lovely flavor!

-CD

It’s kind of sunny here in my part of southern Arizona right now, so much so that grown men are weeping and the trees are bursting into flames. Perhaps I’m exaggerating just a bit, but what better time to revisit the topic of sun tea, something that was touched on several years ago, in these very pages. Look here and here for all the details.

I thought it might be interesting to see what sun tea-related stuff had turned up in the four years or so since those articles came out, so here we go. One of the first things I ran across was a recent article from the Yuma newspaper about…sun tea, no less. For those not in the know, Yuma, Arizona is said by some to be one of the sunniest cities in the entire United States and is certainly among the hottest. It’s a place where you could probably whip up a batch of sun tea in about fifteen minutes. The article is mostly a primer on how to prepare the stuff, without any mention made of the possible downsides discussed in the previous articles.

Solar powered sun tea jar (screen capture from site)

Solar powered sun tea jar (screen capture from site)

Of course if you want to know anything about anything, you go to the ultimate authority – and that would be Martha Stewart. The great one does not actually weigh in on sun tea at her site, but rather there is a simple recipe for a four-hour version of the aforementioned. Over at the popular food site Serious Eats, they give a recipe for sun tea and recount their experiences testing two different types of tea – “the first, standard Lipton orange pekoe and cut black in individual bags, and second, hand-filled sachets of Organic Golden Monkey black tea.” Not surprisingly, the latter gave the best results.

As the gadget columnist for this fine site, I suppose I’d be remiss if I didn’t make mention of a few sun tea-related gadgets of note. Starting with this Solar Powered Sun Tea Jar that actually claims to use the power of the sun to stir the tea while it’s steeping. On the hoity-toity front, you can get a Sun Tea Kit from the good people at Williams-Sonoma for a mere pittance – that’s just $69.95, sports fans.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

This is a follow-up to the article that I wrote on the dangers of sun tea, The Dark Side of Sun Tea, this past June. While I still hold that it’s wise to avoid making tea by this method, there is less clear evidence about the topic than I had previously been led to believe. Interestingly, although many sources stated that the Center for Disease Control had published a position that sun tea was unsafe, the CDC itself denies this.

Cold Brew

Cold Brew Tea

As part of my follow-up research I wrote to the CDC directly, asking for confirmation or denial of their position. This is my email to them:

To: cdcinfo@cdc.gov
Subject: Question about Alcaligenes viscolactis in “sun tea”

Dear Sir or Madam, Does the Center For Disease Control have an official policy on “sun tea,” the practice of brewing tea in glass jars set outside in the sun for several hours? Colorado State’s “Safe Food News” states that it is an unsafe practice due to the possible growth of Alcaligenes viscolactis because the water does not reach a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria. There are a lot of anecdotal comments throughout the tea industry and other places that state that the CDC has deemed sun tea as unsafe, including on Snopes.com, but I have been unable to find any clear, reliable statement that this is the case directly from the CDC itself. On my tea blog and as a guest writer on another tea blog I wrote that this was an unsafe practice even if the bacterial risk was not very big. Any information you could provide me would be greatly appreciated. As someone who writes a blog about tea and tea practices I feel an obligation to keep my readership well informed with accurate and scientifically verifiable information. This is an issue that has conflicting and incomplete information, at least in what I have been able to find so far. I hold that it is unwise to make sun tea due to the risk of bacteria, but I would like some additional official support (or denial) for this position.
[signed]

I couple of weeks later I received a brief, but informative response from a Public Affairs representative for the CDC:

The short answer is, we don’t know. I circulated your query and so far none of our scientists have either worked or are familiar with anyone who has conducted research on this topic. I will keep you posted if I find out anything new…

Regards,

Arleen Porcell-Pharr, MS, APR
Public Affairs Specialist
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA 30333
404-639-7285
fyd4@cdc.gov

I appreciate the CDC taking the time to respond to my inquiry, and I find it quite curious that so many people were citing studies and/or an official CDC policy statement that simply does not exist. The other curious thing about this is that Snopes.com, which exists entirely for the purpose of debunking misinformation and confirming accurate information, was one of the sources citing the CDC’s findings that sun tea was unsafe. I contacted Snopes.com for a response to this as well, but received no response from them.

Iced Tea

Iced Tea

Regardless of all of the confusion, there’s no good reason to continue to make tea outdoors in the sunshine when cold-brewing is safer and results in tea that tastes as good or better. Good quality Ceylon teas work particularly well for this. But the jury is still out on whether sun tea can be proven to be unsafe scientifically – or even anecdotally. It seems unlikely that any studies will be done to confirm or deny this any time soon.

There is an additional article available on TeaGeek.net on this topic and the unreliability of information sources that you may want to read also.

Check out Gongfu Girl’s blog for more informative articles!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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