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sweet tea

  • d

i love sweet tea - like they serve in GA and SC.

are there any secrets to making it (do you make sun tea and add sugar, do you make hot tea and add sugar). and are there any rules re tea:sugar? is it 2 teaspoons sugar:1 tea bag?

any help or tried & true formulas would be great.

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  1. Boil 4 cups of water with 1 cup of sugar. Add 10 regular size tea bags, take off the heat and put a lid on it. Let it sit until it cools then pluck out the the bags. If you squeeze them it makes the tea cloudy. Just pour into a gallon size pitcher and fill with water or refridgerate the concentrate and make one glass at a time. Only good for a day or two though...

    3 Replies
    1. re: LisaAZ

      That's how I make it, because that's how my South Carolinian friend told me to make it! And if you can get your hands on it, use Luzianne tea! Otherwise, a good black tea is my favorite.

      1. re: Pei

        Luzianne is from New Orleans and is blended for icing. It will not get cloudy. It is pure Orange Pekoe and plain Pekoe. None of that Assam it the mix which can make refrigerated tea cloudy. I am about to brew a couple of quarts right now.

      2. re: LisaAZ

        Also, add a pinch of baking soda in the boil... it smoothes out the tannins a bit.

      3. even better, if you can find Charleston Tea Plantation tea...it's the only tea grown in the US. It smells sooooo good.

        1. Cooks Illustrated and I prefer Lipton. I like it alot more than Luzianne. The way they make tea works great.

          Put 4 cups of water in med saucepan. Add three tea bags, turn the heat to medium. When bubbles form on the edge of the saucepan, pour the solution into your pitcher. Discard the bags. Stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cups sugar. Add two quarts cold water, stir. Serve over ice. You never want to use boiling water or squeeze the teabags.

          It has been a while since I actually looked at their recipe, but that is my interpretion of it. My family (husband), goes through a pitcher a day.

          1. You might also try Community Coffee's Tea. They too blend for iced tea and they have bigger "family size" tea bags.

            I boil a full kettle of water (i am guessing about 1 and 1/2 quarts of water) and steep 3 of Community's "family size" Tea bags for 5 minutes. I find if you let them steep unitl the water cools then it get too bitter. Then would be the time to add sugar. Then top off with cool water to the desired strength. I have found that the really important thing about southern tea is a big slice of fresh lemon. I prefer unsweet tea but i have made sweet tea and gotten good results with a "natural" style cane sugar like Cajun Crystal. (http://www.geocities.com/dougleblanc58/) I use Cajun Crystals for pretty much everything from cornbread to coffee.

            You can find Community Coffee's webpage here (http://www.communitycoffee.com/ccc/


            They are another Louisiana coffee and tea importer, wholesaler, etc.

            Their coffee roasting plant is right across the river from my house in Baton Rouge. In the winter, when the wind is right, you can smell then roasting the beans most mornings. One of my favorite things.

            1. I make it all the time- similar to LisaAZ post above- they key is definitely boiling the sugar as the water is boiling. here is how I do it...
              Add 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups cold water & bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately remove from heat, and add 8 tea bags. Steep for 5 minutes, remove tea bags, put in pitcher & add 4 more cups cold water. Let cool, and pour over lots of ice.

              1. A quick note from a Southern-born diabetic; you can make perfectly acceptable Sweet Tea with Splenda, just as you would make it with sugar. And it's definitely Luzianne that you want if you're making it with supermarket tea.

                1. I make a simple syrup that I keep in the fridge for those that want sweet tea and I add a little lemon juice for flavor.
                  Bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil, remove from heat add a little lemon juice, cool and store in closed container in fridge (I use a squirt bottle with a top). Pull out and add to tea as necessary.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Jfields

                    I did this recently, but made a mint syrup. 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup chopped mint leaves. Bring to a boil, boil just til sugar dissolves, remove from heat, let sit for an hour or so. Strain-will keep indefinitely in a jar in the fridge. Add to taste to each glass (and add a mint leaf or two, too).

                  2. Its not "traditional" sweet tea, but lately I've been making iced tea with loose leaf Ceylon tea and lemon. You can find loose leaf Ceylon black tea at any online seller (www.uptontea.com, for example). For a 2-quarter pitcher, I boil 2 quarts of water (about what fits in a tea kettle. I steep about 5 teaspoons of Ceylon in a loose leaf filter (also available from an online tea store) for about 10 minutes then add 4 slices of lemon and sugar to taste (I use about 1/3 of a cup). I think this iced tea is incredibly refreshing.

                    1. I think true Southern Sweet Tea (one of the four food groups as far as I'm concerned) has no lemon. :)

                      I make mine the way some of the others do...sugar in boiling water, tea bags (I like Lipton, but will use Luzianne too), to make a concentrate, then add cold water and ice. Mmm.

                      I would also agree with the diabetic poster...you can use Splenda or a combo of Splenda and sugar if you have to cut down on the sugar content. Not perfect but still good. If you do use a substitute, make sure to boil it with the water or make a simple syrup, otherwise it is grainy.

                      1. I work in a Charlotte NC restaurant... everyone loves our tea. We brew s & d commercial size bags and add chilled simple syrup after brewing (equal parts sugar and water). At home, I would chill brewed tea, make your simple syrup and sweeten individual servings w/ the syrup.

                        1. Another vote for Luzianne it has more briskness imo, besides why take off more packaging than you have to? My way (usually) is 4 cups water in the pyrex plus one one family size teabag. 6m30s in the microwave dunk a few times upon removal. I add splenda as I pour out each glass.