Sun Tea, What You Need to Know

Warmer days are coming soon! For some of us they are already well established and leave us looking for a cool, refreshing drink. Sun tea has been a popular and relatively inexpensive way to keep hydrated for many people, but there are a few things you should know.

The Risks

The nostalgic look of tea bags cooking away in a glass jar on the front porch is definitely a welcoming sight. However, that glass jar creates the perfect environment for bacteria from tap water to thrive. The water typically keeps to a steady temperature of 130°F. To actually kill bacteria, the tea needs to get to 195°F. Of course, this bacteria probably adds a little to make sun tea taste just the way you remember it, but there are a few precautions to keep in mind if you choose to take the risk of enjoying it this summer.

  1. Wash out the glass jar and spigot (if your container has one) very carefully with warm, soapy water before putting in water for tea.
  2. Don’t leave the jar in the sun for more than 3-4 hours.
  3. Don’t make more tea than you plan to consume in a day.
  4. Refrigerate the tea as soon as it is brewed and keep it refrigerated.
  5. Discard if the tea appears thick or syrupy.

A Safe Alternative

With a little more planning ahead, iced tea is just as easy to make and definitely safe from bacteria by brewing it cold. Simply fill your jar with cool water, add tea bags as you would for sun tea, and place the jar in the fridge overnight. This way, bacteria doesn’t have a chance, and your tea will have a longer refrigerator shelf life. Give it a try! As simple as this method is, you may want to stock up on a few favorite flavors this time of year such as Mango Mayhem Black Tea, Lychee or Ginger Peach.

Refreshing Tea Sangrias

Hot tea starts to take a back seat to cold tea this time of year for most of us. Turning your tea into a sangria cocktail will make your drink taste even more refreshing. Check out a few of these ideas and get ready for summer weather!

Healthy Mint Sangria

This drink combines the sweet taste of melon and the tartness of blueberries with a bite of mint. It doesn’t call for any sugar which makes it healthy too. Try it with our Organic Moroccan Mint Green Tea for a truly refreshing treat.

Ingredients:Tea Sangria

  • 4 bags mint green tea
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 bottle of wine (such as Pinot Grigio, Moscato or Riesling)
  • 1 small cantaloupe, cut into pieces
  • 1 small honeydew, cut into pieces
  • ¼ watermelon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • Juice from all of the melons

Instructions:

  1. Place the tea bags into the hot water and allow to brew for 3 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Pour tea and wine into pitcher and stir.
  3. Add fruit, half the mint and juice from melons if desired. Stir again.
  4. Let sit for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. Add remaining mint before serving. Serve over ice and enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from laurenkellynutrition.com

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

For a cool drink that the kids can enjoy too, try this non-alcoholic tea sangria. This recipe calls for a black tea. We recommend one of our fruit flavored selections such as Peach Paradise or Blue Shadow.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons tea in an infuser or in bags
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 3 cups carbonated water

Instructions:

  1. Pour boiling water over tea and cinnamon sticks and steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Discard tea and stir in sugar to dissolve.
  3. In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  5. Just before serving, stir in carbonated water. Pour over ice and enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from thekitchn.com.

Organic Pink Lemonade Rooibos Three Ways

When it comes to new and exciting flavors for the summer, the Tea Smith has you covered with a perfectly seasonal choice that’s sure to become a new favorite for you, your friends and your family.

Our Organic Pink Lemonade Rooibos is a refreshingly cool blend of citrus and lemongrass, with a splash of hibiscus for sweetness. Summer is just getting started, so there’s plenty of time to try it many different ways! Here are some ideas to get you started.

Have it Hot

This may not be the most obvious choice for summer, but wait! You can fight off the gloom of a heavy summer storm with this cheery drink. Its tart and sweet blend is sure to perk you up and lift your mood, while the warm brew keeps you cozy.

Drink it Iced

Aaaah, nothing says summer like an ice cold drink on the patio. Our Organic Pink Lemonade Rooibos’ ruby red color will look great sitting in a glass pitcher, filled with lots of ice and perhaps a few lemon slices thrown in for looks and an extra punch of sour flavor. This tea makes for a great iced drink, and it’s sure to have less sugar than your regular lemonade mix! A great alternative for kids.

Grown-up Style

Make sure you leave this one off the kiddie table. Whether it’s for happy hour or during a Fourth of July barbecue, an iced Pink Lemonade cocktail is sure to hit the spot. Use lots of ice and a splash (or more!) of vodka to get the party started. You can even add some soda water for an extra fizz that will serve as a lovely complement to this tea’s naturally zesty taste. Garnish with cherries, citrus slices or cranberries for extra credit.

Tea Recipes from Maine

With little effort you can find recipes using tea.  This seems to be a popular trend these days.  It is certainly fun, as it allows one to explore their creative side.  The attached link will take you to aroundmaine.com which features an article on cooking with tea.  I have not tried the recipes (yet), though the Tea-Smoked Scallops will be first on my list.

If you have a favorite recipe using tea, please feel free to share it with others here.

Enjoy,

Chief Leaf

Darjeeling Tea Punch

This recipe is great for a summer day, and as a starting place for additional creativity.

1/2 pint strong Darjeeling Tea
6 ounces sugar
1/2 pint orange juice
4 TBS lemon juice
1 large bottle lemonade
2 small bottles ginger ale
1 orange, sliced

Put the tea in a bowl; add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the orange juice and lemon juice and strain. Chill. Just before serving, mix in the ginger ale lemonade and orange slices.

Courtesy; The Darjeeling Planters Association