Instructables

How To Make Solar Tea

Picture of How To Make Solar Tea
I offer this Instructable to those who have never made solar tea but would like to give it a try. Solar tea is not only better for the environment because you use no energy but it is very easy to make.  It also tastes less bitter than tea that is "over cooked" or over heated by hot water. 

Additionally, it is much safer to make solar tea than tea made with boiling water.  Spill solar heated tea on yourself and it's no big deal, spill boiling water on yourself and OUCH! You could be on the way to the emergency room. (I been there! I had a half filled pitcher of boiling water explode on me one summer. It was not fun.)

This Instructable will make 1 gallon of delicious iced tea.


 
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Step 1: Gather Ingredients And Tools

Picture of Gather Ingredients And Tools
INGREDIENTS:

* Water (filtered is best but optional) - enough to fill jar
   **Do not use hot water from the tap!! It is not healthy to drink.
* Tea
   * * Loose leaf - 5-6 tsp. (RECOMMENDED!) OR
   * * Bags - 7 regular or 3 family size
* Sugar - 3/4 to 1 cup Or to taste
* Lemon slices
* Ice
* Sunny day

TOOLS:

* Large Jar w/Lid (pickle jar, etc) - atleast 32 oz
* Pitcher- 1 gallon (glass is best)
* Large wooden spoon
* Measuring cup
* Tea strainer (if using loose leaf tea)
* Knife and cutting board (if adding lemon slices)
* Large glass (Mason jars are preferred)

Step 2: Prepare Tea Infusion

Picture of Prepare Tea Infusion

Make sure everything is clean--no pickle smell in jar!
Fill jar with water.
Add tea.
Stir gently.
Put on lid on jar, close tightly.

Step 3: Solarize Tea

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Find a sunny spot outdoors.
Place jar on hard surface, in the sun.
*A concrete surface will work best - patio, balconey, etc.
Leave for 15-30 minutes (depending on temperature of weather).
When infusion turns a rich brown, bring inside to finish preparing.
   *Let your infusion get dark as you may have to add more water (depending on the size of your jar) in order to make a gallon.
mycroftxxx4 years ago
 You might want to add a disclaimer to the start of this instrucable that the resulting drink will not be sterilized and that you will be exposed to whatever bacteria are on the tea leaves.  I was a fan of "sun tea" until getting yelled at by more than a few people who either knew tea or microbiology that I was asking for an infection of some kind.  

The problem is that while you can mostly sterilize water with a couple hours of direct and bright sunlight, this will not sterilize the tea leaves.  Those leaves are not steamed, irradiated, or otherwise sterilized at the plant, so they still have whatever will grow on them.  The brewing cycle in "solar tea" merely raises a volume of water to an optimal growing temperature for those bacteria, causing them to flourish.

In my heart-o-hearts, I'm still hoping to come up with a way to get non-boiled sun tea to work.
MyCroftxxx is indeed correct, according to Snopes, quoting from the Center for Disease Control. See:

http://www.snopes.com/food/prepare/suntea.asp
sparkleponytx (author)  mycroftxxx4 years ago
Well, thanks for the comment. But, ahhhagg! Just one more thing to worry about!!

I can only say that I have been drinking solar tea since the `70's and so far so good, no horrible stomach problems or anything negative.  I think in the scheme of things there is much more danger in eating meat than in drinking solar tea.  Meat eating is rife with germs...and sickness.

So, since I don't eat meat, I think I'll accept the risk of drinking solar tea.
vraam3 years ago
Mid westerers have been drinking this stuff for ever. Bacteria be dammed. go ahead and live on the edge. Be3 dangerous. Drink unboiled tea!
Lensman013 years ago
I wouldn't worry overly about the doom mongers, after all the tea is dyhydrated to the point nothing grows on it when it is in storage and the tanins have a sterilizing affect. Oh, and apparently people have been drinking this for generations with no harmful affectd, so you do what you think is best. And remember an overly clean up childhood and bamm adult immune problems like asthma
sparkleponytx (author)  Lensman013 years ago
Thanks.
Biggsy4 years ago
I had been wondering for a while what Solar Tea was... Thanks for clearing that up for me...

However being British I I'm very set in my ways when it comes to tea habbits hehehe

One way to stop exploding glass/reduce the risk of it happening,. is to put a metal spoon in the glass when you poar in hot water... It acts like a heat sink when you solder LED's

Anyways, a nice informative and clear I'ble... welldone

<wonders off mumbling something about tea heresy> ;)
sparkleponytx (author)  Biggsy3 years ago
Thanks.
JamesW3 years ago
My family calls it Sun Tea. I've been drinking it since I was little, and it's never done me wrong either. Though, the way I learned it from my grandma was leaving the jar out in the sun for an hour or two. It always tasted better (to me) to let it sit longer, so I do. Don't think it matters, though. And it's really efficient, too. You can make as many gallons at once as you can sit in the sun, unlike making tea on a stove, where you can only have four kettles/pots on the burners at once. I like to park my truck in the sun (windows cracked of course!) and put a gallon or three on top of my steel toolbox.
sparkleponytx (author)  JamesW3 years ago
Thanks! That is a brillant idea! The inside of a car/truck is HOT here in TX. It should make tea in no time.
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