Hot Tea, Iced Tea, Sweet Tea

Do you drink hot tea or iced tea?  What is sweet tea?
Growing up, the only tea I knew was sweet iced tea in the summer. I never knew people drank hot tea until I was practically grown and went to a Chinese restaurant for the first time. And I know there are a multitude of tea flavors but I am a confirmed Lipton’s fan. In looking up ‘tea’ on the internet, the subject is mostly concerned with health benefits, antioxidants, rather than just pleasure. I thought drinking sweet iced tea was just to be drinking something pleasurable and cooling in the hot weather. 

Under Good Ol’ Alabama Sweet Tea, the recipe may surprise you. It lists the ingredients: 2 cups of sugar, 1/2 gallon water, one tray of ice cubes, 3 family-sized tea bags of orange pekoe tea, and 3 cups of cold water or as needed.  Directions: 1) Pour the sugar into a large pitcher; bring the water to a boil in a large pan. When the water begins to boil, remove from the heat, and place the tea bags. Let steep for 5 to 6 minutes.  2) Remove tea bags, and return tea to the heat.  Bring just to a boil, then pour into the pitcher, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the pitcher half-way with ice, and stir until most of it melts. Then fill the pitcher the rest of the way with cold water and stir until blended.   

Does anyone use that much sugar now? Probably not, we’re too health conscious. But that’s what I grew up drinking.  Then I learned about sun tea.  Here is the recipe I found on-line:  Put 4 to 6 tea bags into a clean 2-quart glass container. Fill with water and cap. Put outside where the sunlight can strike the container for 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sunlight. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from the sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may want to remove the tea bags, although some people leave them in.

The tea will be more mellow than you are used to from using boiling water. The slow steeping also brings out slightly different flavors than the boiling water method. You need to keep it refrigerated and drink within one or two days. You can use various teas and perhaps add a few sprigs of fresh mint.  

I’m not really a big tea drinker, but I do enjoy going out to tea in an elegant tea shop or going to a friend’s house for afternoon tea.  Strangely, I somehow discovered that I respond well to hot tea whenever I have any kind of illness.  I always keep a box of Lipton tea bags in the house. 

And I never add sugar to tea, nor lemon, nor milk.  I like it plain.  Do you drink tea?  What do you like?  I would love to hear your ideas of the best way to drink tea and what flavors you like.

About Carolyn Leeper

Carolyn's memoir, "Borrowed Time: 75 Years & Counting" recounts events from her childhood with tributes to her family. She is looking forward to the years ahead. She is also the author of a children's alphabet book: "Come With Me From A to Z". "19 remarkable Northwest Women" profiles women who have found their passion.
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