I had my first sweet tea in Tennessee when I was 17. It was fantastic and I wished very much that it was available at home. But it isn’t, so I tried to make my own (it didn’t work out so well at the time). The next time I travelled, my flight had a stop-over in Chicago. And I was ecstatic to find that the McDonald’s in the airport served sweet tea (I think it also had unsweetened iced tea, something for everyone’s tastes). It wasn’t as fantastic as I had remembered and I was quite disappointed. A few years later, in Florida, I decided I would give sweet tea a try yet again. I bought a whole gallon (which my friend graciously let me keep in her fridge). It was gone by the end of my visit.
Remember when I went to Virginia back in May? Well, one thing I forgot to mention about this trip was my obsession with sweet tea. I couldn’t get enough of it! I had sweet tea at least once per day. At one point, I even made a special trip out one evening, just for a cup (the biggest cup available) of sweet tea.
It’s just better than the sweet iced tea that we have here in Ontario. What makes it so much better? It seems that sweet tea is freshly brewed everywhere. Even McDonald’s! (In fact, McDonald’s is one of my favourite places to get a sweet tea because I know it will consistently be delicious). The tea is always slightly warm and is served over a glass full of ice. It’s an interesting combination of warm and cold in each sip (unless you savour the sweet tea, then it’s mostly cold by the time you finish it). I usually don’t get to this point.
I’m just a bit better at cooking now than when I was 17 (obviously, I’m exaggerating, I’m much more informed now that I cook daily). So, I decided to make another attempt at making sweet tea at home. It’s delicious and almost as tasty as the sweet tea that I get when vacationing in the US. Bryan wasn’t much of a fan – he drinks his iced tea unsweetened. I enjoy iced tea either way!
Yesterday, Sharyn from thekalechronicles (a blog I follow regularly) posted about how to properly brew tea and iced tea. It’s a very interesting and informative step-by-step instruction for brewing tea. My tea is not brewed properly, so my next batch of sweet tea will be made following Sharyn’s directions. There are a lot of tea shops in town, so I’m hoping to find a suitable/similar loose leaf tea.
- 6 1/2 cups water
- 2 bag of Lipton Cold Brew Tea (“pitcher”-sized tea bags, or 4 regular Lipton black tea bags) – approximate cost $0.75
- 1/3 cup cane sugar – approximate cost $0.75
- 3 teaspoons lemon juice (optional) – approximate cost $0.15
- In a large pot, bring the water to a boil.
- Add the sugar.
- Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Add the tea bags and turn off the heat.
- Allow the tea to steep for 7-10 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags (so the tea doesn’t get bitter).
- Stir in the lemon juice.
- Let the tea cool until it is warm.
- Fill a tall glass with ice.
- Pour some of the sweet tea over the ice.
- Serve and enjoy immediately!
- Serve the tea warm and with a generous amount of ice.
- Add a slice of lemon as garnish.
- If you chill the tea, slightly heat a single portion of sweet tea (in the microwave or on the stove top) and serve over ice.
Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $0.28 per serving).