There is nothing more traditional in the South than serving a cold glass of sweet ice tea on a hot sultry day. Even poems have been written about sweet tea and in the movie Steel Magnolias , sweet tea was called, “the house wine of the South.”
Picture courtesy of Porter Biggs.com
Ten Commandments for Sweet Tea
(Here is an example of a good stoneware pot for brewing tea –RSVP White 6 cup Stoneware Chai Teapot)
- Thou shalt have a designated pot for brewing the tea. (My favorite is a stoneware or a ceramic teapot like the one above. It seems to brew the tea faster.)
- Thou shalt buy fresh quality tea. (Many people have their favorites. Some popular brands in the South are Lipton (my favorite) Tetley, or Luzianne.)
- Thou shalt use no less than 6 to 8 teabags for a gallon of tea.
- Thou shalt not bruise the tea leaves. (This means don’t throw them in a pot of water or boil water with tea bags in it. This is the purpose of the designated pot. Place the leaves with the strings hanging out in the designated pot and pour the hot boiled water gently over the leaves.)
- Thou shalt steep the tea bags for no less than 10 minutes and no more than 30 minutes.
- Thou shalt stir and dissolve two (or more) cups of sugar in three cups of hot water in a large pitcher.
- Thou shalt remove the tea bags from the designated teapot and gently pour the brewed tea into the large pitcher of sugar water.
- Thou shalt stir the tea and sugar water very gently. (Add more room temperature water to make a full gallon and taste for sweetness and add more sugar, if needed)
- Thou shalt cover and let the tea stand until it is room temperature, then pour into a glass filled with ice and a lemon wedge on the rim. (Crushed ice is best)
- Thou shalt never put ice into the pitcher of tea nor place in refrigerator to cool faster. Only put the tea in refrigerator after it has cooled to room temperature.
Example of a good pitcher for iced tea – Lenox French Perle Pitcher, Large, Ice Blue
These are my ten commandments for making Southern sweet tea. What are yours?