How to Make Sun Tea

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

As the mercury breaks 100°F on these hot summer days (or 38°C for those of you on a metric system) a great way to make some tea without heating up your kitchen is to use the power of the sun to make sun tea.

How to Make Sun Tea Recipe

  • Prep time: 3 hours


  • 4-8 tea bags


Put 4 to 8 tea bags into a clean 2 quart or gallon glass container (4 teabags for a 2 quart container, 8 tea bags for a gallon container). Fill with water and cap. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sun. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. I usually don't.

The tea will probably taste more mellow than what you are used to from using boiling water. The slow seeping has a way of bringing out a slightly different flavor from the tea. Also, because you didn't use boiling water, you should refrigerate the tea and drink it up pretty quickly - a day or two. It will not keep as well as iced tea made from boiling water.

I usually make sun tea with various forms of herbal tea. Sometimes you can put in a few sprigs of fresh mint as well.

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Sun Tea

Showing 4 of 58 Comments

  • Mel

    Where can I find this sun tea jar? Reminds of my childhood:)

  • Shayna

    Please be careful when making sun tea in hot dry places. Our neighbor started a fire by making sun tea in a glass jar. She set it on a tree stump in dry grass. It started a fire that could have turned bad quickly. Happy summer!

  • Meli

    Re: glass vs. plastic jars–I prefer glass. I think it conducts the sun’s radiational heat better, which gives the tea a warmer, richer taste.

  • Darryl

    I would like to make one quart every day – so can I just put 2 tea bags into a quart of water, put the lid on and sit it in the sun? I do not like stale tea (it’s like stale coffee) and so I think making one quart in the morning and drinking it during the day makes more sense for me.

  • Lorna

    I use 1 gallon jugs made for holding drinking water, etc that I bought from Wal-Mart. I am from the South and therefore have drank sunbrewed tea all my life. If you are not comfortable drinking sun tea, then don’t. Sweetened tea, sun brewed or “regular” brewed will all “turn” (go bad) from sitting out. Sometimes it happens quickly, other times it takes a while. I have often told restaurants their tea has turned. That is why I only take a small sip of a glass of tea for my first sip. It it’s good, then I go ahead and drink it. Otherwise I send it back/dump it. But you can also make refrigerator brewed tea in the relative safety of your refrigerator. During winter I just toss the normal amount of tea bags (12 regular bags or 4 family sized bags) in a 1 gallon container of 3-1/2 quarts of water and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. After it has brewed, I make a simple syrup by adding my 3/4 cup sugar to 2 cups hot water, stirring to dissolve completely. Then I add the simple syrup to the jug of tea. Cap it and shake to mix the tea and simple syrup and put back in refrigerator. For regular black tea, I only use Luzianne.

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