How To Make Sun Tea

I was taught how to make sun tea at Girl Scout camp, long before I reached my double-digit years. It’s a different method of making iced tea. The gentle warmth of the sun and a very long, undisturbed brewing time is the secret to its success.


Don’t stir the water; don’t squeeze the tea bags. Set the jar in the sunshine, walk away and return in 2-3 hours to see if the colour is right yet.


I usually make sun tea in a 500ml (approximately 2 cups) jar with a lid. Fill it with very cold water, and then gently set 2 tea bags into the water. Close the lid tightly so no insects or debris enters the jar. Let the tea bags sink to the bottom under their own weight and as the tea absorbs liquid. Check the strength of the tea after 2-3 hours. If it’s strong enough for you, remove the bags without squeezing so that any tannin remains with the bags, not in your lovely clear tea. Refrigerate. Serve over lots of ice cubes. Sweeten to taste. It’s quite delicious with a few slices of oranges stuck between the ice cubes.


Here’s the way it looks after 2 hours sitting outside under partly cloudy skies. The top part of the water is clear but the bottom half is tea-colour. It needs more time so that all the water is tea-colour. This is the easiest possible iced tea – it makes itself, if you leave it alone!

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Yay!! You’ve made Sun Tea.. I love this idea! And soo pretty and jewel colored in the jar! xo

    1. Misky says:

      Yep, just for you … although I’m drinking it as I write this reply. 😀

  2. Ooh, I have to try this.
    🙂 Mandy

    1. Misky says:

      Let me know how you get on! It will stay crystal clear if you don’t distrub it or squeeze the bags. 🙂

      1. Just waiting for our cold spell and rain to be on it’s way. 🙂

  3. I have always wanted to try this. Thanks for posting this- now I think I will. May as well put all this blazing sunshine to work…

    1. Misky says:

      Quite right!

  4. J9 says:

    We usualy make sun tea in large containers that last for several days. I love it because it doesn’t get bitter at all (those pesky tannins!). We have amassed quite a collection of loose teas, so we’ve been wearing down our stores making them into sun teas: “orange blossom” green tea and coconut oolong so far. Yum!

    1. Misky says:

      Have you tried making sun tea from herb tea leaves? I’m tempted but haven’t tried it yet.

    1. Misky says:

      Sometimes the best things are! 🙂

  5. I saw this on Pamela’s website recently (Spoon Feast) but didn’t know how it was made. Thanks for the headsup, Misky! It’s a great idea! 🙂

    1. Misky says:

      It pretty much makes itself, Celia! 😀

  6. Joanna says:

    That does look clear! I have never liked iced tea as it is always too bitter, so I must give it a try. I wonder if it would work for making kombucha, which we are currently making loads of in the hot weather, it uses the same mother as for the apple vinegar experiments. I guess you would need to dissolve the sugar separately somehow and then combine the two…. goes away to have a think…

    1. Misky says:

      Just resist the temptation to poke, stir or squeeze before the brew is finished, and it will remain crystal clear without a hint of bitterness. Don’t squeeze the tea. 😀

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