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Apr 28, 2010 02:11 PM

authentic southern sweet tea

What brand tea works best ,sugar (simple syrup?) process etc thanks

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    1. Luzianne Tea or Lipton are the brands we southerners use. We make the whole batch pre-sweetened with granulated sugar. No need for simple syrup as you are not sweetening your tea after the ice is in it.

      We generally like it pretty strong to hold up to sugar. Sun tea is good but just isn't as strong as we usually have it.

      Put some water in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. take it off the burner and put it 4 tea bags and put the lid on. Let it steep for 15 to 30 minutes. Take the bags out. Be sure to squeeze them to get all the tea out. Discard the tea bags.

      Transfer the water to a 1 gallon container and add 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar. Fill the container with water. Keep tasting it until it is sweet enough. You may have to use some ice in a glass for this because the colder a liquid is the less intense the sweetness seems to humans (that's why ice cream has to be so sweet).

      There you go... sweet tea. Store in the refrigerator.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tonka11_99

        Ditto on the Luzianne brand, strongly brewed, to pour over ice; the company makes family-sized bags, for making 1 quart per bag of tea at a shot:

        Lipton is more generally available and good but Luzianne is the best. I add sugar while the tea is still hot, until it's quite sweet. I'm not a Southerner, so I don't drink it as sweet as I've had it down South (plus I like a little lemon, ssssh, don't tell) but I do appreciate a good sweet tea. It's my fav summer beverage.

      2. It's not authentically Southern, but I've impressed my favorite group of church ladies for years in the summertime by brewing Oolong tea until it's a dark amber, then stirring in sugar until it's very sweet. Pour into iced glasses.

        Some people swear they can tell the difference between sweet tea that's been sweetened with simple syrup and plain sugar. I can't.

        A lemon wedge nor a mint sprig never, ever goes near true "sweet tea."

        6 Replies
        1. re: shaogo

          I don't know how they can tell if the tea has been sweetened with simple syrup or sugar as the sugar is mixed with the tea when hot then water is added and simple syrup is a mixture of sugar & water which is the same. Unless when making the tea, the sugar is not allowed to dissolve completely.

          1. re: Cherylptw

            You can use simple syrup. In fact with simple syrup, you can add it to iced tea and it magic.
            I do suspect the reason we like sweet tea in the south is because you can't dissolve regular sugar into a glass of iced tea which is why we make it all in a batch, dissolve the sugar in the tea while it is still warm.

            The degree of sweetness is set by the family tea maker...mama and you will like it the way she makes it! Because after all, If mama ain't happy....ain't nobody happy.

            1. re: tonka11_99

              I know all about sweet tea; I live in NC.....when I used to work in restaurants, we made our sweet tea with simple syrup but personally, I prefer to add the sugar to the hot tea and let it dissolve that way, then add water. That way, you get a stronger tea without the extra water in simple syrup.

              1. re: tonka11_99

                "family tea maker...mama and you will like it the way she makes it! Because after all, if mama ain't happy....ain't nobody happy."

                That's how it is in my house, lol.

                Add the sugar to the hot tea, no reason for the extra simple syrup step, says this Northerner.

            2. re: shaogo

              I can tell if the sugar has been added to hot brewed tea, because it turns the tea cloudy. The ideal, IMO, is crystal-clear amber-colored tea, and using simple syrup is the best way to make that happen.

              1. re: LauraGrace

                That is we way people made it in North Carolina back in the 1960's/70's..or, at elast, where I was occasionally in the summer. I think they added it to warm, but not hot, tea. It has always been to sweet for me and I have noted with alarm its incursion into South Louisian where is was a rarity until recently. MAny people have heard of it as "southern" and come to New Orleans looking for it. At least we weathered that awful onslaught of instant "tea" that infested damn near everywhere forty years ago.