How to Make Solar Tea




Introduction: How to Make Solar Tea

About: I like to DIY and I hate to waste anything.

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


* 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


* 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

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

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.

Step 4: Prepare Pitcher

Add sugar to glass pitcher.

I like to use raw sugar or organic sugar. Bought in bulk is cheaper.

Use whatever sugar you like but please don't use the artificial stuff. It's bad for you and the environment. (Where do you think it goes when you pee?)

Step 5: Make Tea

Pour tea infusion from jar into glass pitcher.
*If using loose leaf tea, strain with tea strainer. (Loose leaf tea tastes the best!)
*If using bags, after you pour, squeeze.
Stir with wooden spoon.
Add ice to drinking glass.
Pour tea into drinking glass.
Add lemon slice (squeeze slightly and rub on rim of glass before dropping into glass)

Step 6: Prepare Yourself

Admire your handiwork for 10 seconds.
Drink up and enjoy!

Step 7: Foot Note:

Don't throw your used tea bags or loose tea away!  Add it to your compost bin. No compost bin? Give it directly to your potted plants or outdoor flower beds (just tear open bags & dump).  No potted plants or flower beds? Just dump into the grass. It is good for whatever is growing.  Recycle dammit!

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    12 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

     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.

    Bruce in Iloilo
    Bruce in Iloilo

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    MyCroftxxx is indeed correct, according to Snopes, quoting from the Center for Disease Control. See:


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    where it also says:

  • Use a container that has been scrubbed in warm, soapy water. As an additional precaution, dip the container in a bleach solution made with 1-1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water.
  • If the container has a spigot, clean it carefully after each use, preferably by taking it apart. If you can't clean inside the spigot, don't brew sun tea in that vessel — find yourself something else to use.
  • Do not leave tea to brew in the sunlight for more than three to four hours.
  • 0

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Sterilization requires 212 F heat for at least 17 minutes, so when brewing a cup of tea, do you boil the tea infusion for 17 minutes? I don't really think so


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Mid westerers have been drinking this stuff for ever. Bacteria be dammed. go ahead and live on the edge. Be3 dangerous. Drink unboiled tea!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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> ;)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! That is a brillant idea! The inside of a car/truck is HOT here in TX. It should make tea in no time.