Making your own Sun-brewed Tea


May has brought on its showers but I’m sure that the summery days will still be back, bringing with it the bright sunshine and the scorchingly hot weather that calls for copious amounts of refreshment. The amount of sunshine streaming through our windows the past couple of weeks had me toying with all sorts of iced tea experiments. One of my favorite ones is brewing tea under the sun. Interesting? You bet it is. Solar-powered tea sounds so hip, doesn’t it?

Sun-brewed Tea

I bet you’re already feeling refreshed. Or parched. Or both.

I can extoll the values of sun-brewed tea, or as a lot of people call it, sun tea. How it’s more economical because you don’t use fuel to heat up the water. How it’s greener since as it uses the sun’s natural energy to brew. How the flavor is nice and subtle because of the slow steeping. But truthfully, the best reason is because it’s so easy! It’s mostly a dump everything in a jar affair, and unlike traditionally brewed iced tea, you don’t have to worry about the tea going bitter from over-steeping because the slow-brew gives you more leeway when it comes to time.

To start, choose what kind of tea you’d like. Black tea works best, but green is pretty okay too. Infused fruit teas are wonderful as well. For this batch, I chose mango-infused tea. If you’re going to use loose leaf tea, sticking it in a tea ball is advisable so you don’t have to strain and transfer your finished tea.

Sun-brewed Tea

Mango Tea from the Singapore Flyer

Get a clean, covered glass jar and fill it with a liter of filtered, room temperature water. Add enough tea for to make a liter’s worth. Simply follow package instructions. For this batch, I used four bags to a liter. Some black tea bags that are especially designed for brewed iced tea just need one to a liter. Don’t be afraid to wing it. If it’s too weak, add some more the next time you make it. If it’s too strong, lessen the amount. This is tea we’re talking about. It’s supposed to relax you, not add to your stress.

Cover your jar. I used a spiffy glass jar here, but truth be told, when I’m feeling extra lazy, I just put everything in a liter-sized glass measuring cup then cover with cling wrap. I told you this is lazy Kao-friendly.

Sun-brewed Tea

It’s fascinating to watch it slowly darken.

Now, step outside your home, look around and find the sunniest corner you can find. Choose one that has adequate sunlight for hours on end, so you don’t have to keep moving your jar. Think of your jar as a sunflower — it has to follow the sun, so just keep it where it’ll be hit directly. You’ll need to steep it in sunlight for three hours or so, that’s why it will be good to know the path the sun follows. I usually try to get my sun tea started a little before noon when the sun is at its zenith. I have a spot atop our gate’s pillar that enjoys adequate direct sunlight until 4pm or so. Plus, it’s out of reach for the neighborhood cats.

Sun-brewed Tea

Just enough to sweeten your day

Once your tea has done its time and has turned a lovely shade of amber or a deep, dark caramel — depending on your leaves of course — lace it with enough simple syrup to suit your personal tastes. Chill it in the fridge for a few more hours, or serve it atop ice if you can’t wait. Light, refreshing, and lazily-made. There’s no other drink more suitable for summer, is there?

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9 Responses to Making your own Sun-brewed Tea

  1. I love this! Will definitely try it, I have some passionfruit-infused bags here!

    • kaoko says:

      I decided to experiment on hot brewed tea na rin, sunbrewing really makes a diff. You really just have to finish it agad, maybe in a day, max? I read that it doesn’t keep well, probably because it’s not boiled.

  2. joey says:

    I am definitely going to try this! :)

  3. LizA says:

    Just a note — if anyone has a compromised immune system (and anyone who does KNOWS they do) they should stear clear of Sun Tea. There is the slight possibility of something growing in the brew that wouldn’t normally harm a healthy person.

    My Hubs has a stem cell transplant, and they were very clear about what he could and couldn’t have during recovery. Sometimes you just have to play by the rules. 😉

    • kaoko says:

      Thanks for the reminder LizA. I do remember reading somewhere that it doesn’t keep well as long as traditionally brewed tea because of the slow steep process. I guess that same factor makes it unsafe for people with compromised immune systems. I agree, it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if your doctor warns against it.

      I wonder though, will boiling the prepared sun tea (sans the leaves), sort of like pasteurizing it, afterwards work?

  4. Pingback: Sumptuous Sundays: Sun-brewed Black Tea | bento, restos & recipes at http://www.kitchencow.com

  5. aoitenshi says:

    So interesting! But first, I need a jar. Haha. (I know I should just do it Lazy Kao style but I’m OC like that lol.)

    • kaoko says:

      Hahahaha! But you know what’s easier? Sunbrewing in a large glass measuring cup. That’s what I do sometimes, so measuring the liquid and pouring it is easier. I just add cling wrap to seal.

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