How to Make Sun Tea Safely

Do you know how to make sun tea safely? Years ago, it was very popular to make sun tea by placing tea in a jug of water and letting it sit out all day in the sun to brew. I had no idea that this wasn’t a safe practice. After reading about people who got sick by using this method, I decided to do a little bit of research to find out more. This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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How to Make Sun Tea Safely

How to Make Sun Tea Safely

The main risk to be aware of when brewing sun tea is the growth of bacteria making you ill. There is no way that you can brew sun tea and guarantee that bacteria will not be present. However, following a few of these tips will reduce the risk. Whether you choose to brew it this way or not is your choice.

  • According to the CDC, brewing sun tea raises the water to a temperature of about 130F which is the temperature at which bacteria in your drinking water grow. To kill bacteria, water needs to be heated to 195F for three to five minutes. To reduce this risk, boil the water for three to five minutes and allow it to cool completely in the refrigerator before using it.
  • Never brew with herbal teas. The caffeine from the black and green tea will help inhibit the growth of iron. Black tea has a higher amount of caffeine than green tea, so ideally you should brew sun tea with black tea.
  • Brew sun tea in a glass container, never plastic. There is no way to kill completely the bacteria present in plastic which is a porous substance. Brew your sun tea in a glass that has been cleaned in hot, soapy water. Dip the container in a solution of 1 1/2 teaspoons of bleach to one gallon of water. If the container has a spigot, make sure that you repeat the same process for the spigot. I prefer to brew in a Mason jar with no spigot since it’s tough to ensure a spigot is clean.
  • Brew for no more than three to four hours. More than that will encourage bacteria to brew. Refrigerate it promptly. Never brew more than what you will use in one day.
  • Do not add sugar or flavorings to the tea until it has cooled in the refrigerator after brewing. Fruit, sugar, honey, cinnamon sticks or cloves can make your tea taste delicious, but they can also encourage bacteria to grow if you leave them in the sun tea while it’s brewing.

My thoughts:

If you’re concerned about the safety of brewing sun tea, you can place the tea in a jar of cold water and put it in the refrigerator overnight. This cold brewed iced tea is a safe way to brew herbal iced teas with no danger of bacteria overgrowth. You may want to try my rhubarb iced tea recipe.

Do you make sun tea?

More resources:

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Comments

  1. I never knew that sun tea could be hazardous to my health. We've been making it in my family for as long as I can remember, and we've never gotten sick. I guess we just lucked out.
  2. Sun tea is my favorite. I make it all the time, but I always make it in my favorite glass jar. I guess that's why I never got sick. I'm ahead of the curve!
  3. Never knew and I've made it for years (and years) - always brewed the way you listed!
  4. I had no clue! I've made tea in the sun with no complication, but now I realize how lucky I am. I'll be doing it the right way from now on.
  5. I never would have guessed this!! I love tea and sun brewed is one of my favorites in the summer time!
  6. I have made sun tea in the past, but had no idea it could potentially be unsafe. I appreciate that my family and I can now enjoy some fresh tea without worrying.

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