Ahh Spring! In honor of Earth Day, I give you my easy sun tea concentrate recipe. Now that the weather is warm and the sun is hot, it's time to make my favorite beverage: Sun Tea! This is a great way to brew your own tea that creates no trash, no energy wastage, it tastes fresher than if you had boiled it in water and takes up very little room in your refrigerator.
Step 1: Materials
1 Glass jar. NOT plastic! This one used to contain pasta sauce. I'm not sure what size it is, but it's bigger than a quart. Make sure you clean them out well so any lingering food odors don't invade your tea.
2 family size tea bags. I'm using one green tea bag and one run of the mill orange pekoe. You can use more, but I find that two works for me. Basically, use however many bags you would normally use for a whole pitcher of tea.
Water: Enough to fill the jar.
A sunny day.
Step 2: Step One: Assembly
Fill up the jar to the top with water, and stick the tea bags in. The jar should be filled to the top. Make sure the bags are submerged and that the strings hang over the edge. You don't want the paper tabs dissolving in your tea.
Place the cap on tightly The idea is to leave enough string in the jar so that the bags will float suspended in the water when inverted. This makes for more efficient brewing.
Step 3: Brew
Now simply place your jar someplace where it will get plenty of sunshine for a few hours. The hotter the day and the longer you leave it out, the stronger your tea will be. The first picture was taken after twenty minutes in the sun on an 80 degree day. At this point I inverted the jar a couple of times to get get a homogenous brew. Once the water starts getting darker, it starts getting hotter because it's absorbing more of the sun's heat energy, thus catalyzing your brewing process. This is why you don't want a lot of air in the jar. The air doesn't get darker like the water does.
The second picture was taken about two hours in the sun.
Step 4: Done
After about three hours or all day, take your jar inside. Take the bags out and put them in your compost pile. They make great brown matter. The little staples on the tags can be recycled. The tags can go in your pile too.
NOW pour some sun tea out into a glass of ice and add water to your desired strength. Close the jar and store in your refrigerator for later. It will keep for almost a week. After that I notice it starts getting a little dreggy. I don't sweeten mine, but with some experimentation, you can pre-sweeten your concentrate to your liking with honey or some simple sugar syrup.
Try adding things to the water before taking it out in the sun: Lemon and orange slices or mint leaves come to mind.