Ice Tea Home-made not crystals.

Sun tea with lemon.

Ice tea also known as Sun tea is in season again! Ice tea is as popular in the warm regions of the US as coffee. It’s easy to make and it’s refreshing. But, if you haven’t grown up with it you might find it a rather strange flavor. What I like about it is it’s full of flavor and has no sugar unless you add it yourself, making it a pretty healthy drink if you ignore the caffeine.

For my European visitors

If you knew how easy it is to make you would wonder why the cafes and restaurants charge an arm and a leg for the “home-made” ice tea they make from tap water and a bag of freeze dried crystals. Not so home made really, not at all. The problem with these manufactured ice teas is that they are very high in sugar, worse than Coca Cola in many cases. Unfortunately, this also means that many will find they probably don’t really like the real deal, as the carton/crystalized variety only hint of the true flavor of sun tea aka ice tea.

I would go pretty far and pay a significant sum for an eatery that took the time to make a proper glass of ice tea.

Note: For my American visitors I realize this recipe seems rather redundant. However, you have to understand that in my experience it’s pretty difficult to find an ice tea that isn’t made from powder crystals in Europe.


Sun tea brewing.

Sun Tea

Ice tea is generally made with the power of the sun. The slow brew makes for a nice mild flavor that is harder to create when using tea brewed with hot water. While there are teas that are specifically made for making sun tea any tea will work. I generally substitute sun tea with an English Breakfast tea or with a smokey tea. You can even mix the two to create a mildly smoky flavor.


1l Water

5-6 Tea-Sun tea or English Breakfast, Smoked tea

Glass jug


Lemon and Sugar to taste, optional


Simply fill a clear glass jug with water then take your tea bags and immerse them in the water. Put in a sunny position and leave for 1-2 hours. The heat from the sun will slowly brew the tea. When the tea is finished you can drink it as is or add a bit of sugar, lemon or both. With a smokey tea I also like to add mint and fresh strawberries. Serve over a large glass with lots of ice.

Brewed Ice Tea


1/2 l Water

3-4 Tea Bags

Lemon and Sugar to taste, optional

Additional 1/2 l Water


Brew a pot of tea as you would a hot cup of tea. Be careful not to let the tea steep too long. You don’t want the tea to become bitter. Add the additional water to taste. Then add the lemon and sugar to taste. Serve in a large glass with lots of ice. You can also add the mint and strawberries here too.


Remember that tea also contains caffeine or tannin. If you like ice tea it is easy to put down several larges glasses in a day, this means you will quite likely increase your caffeine intake significantly which is not necessarily a good thing. If you’re like me this means caffeine headaches from withdrawals when you cut back.