Sun Brewed Tea

A big jug, clean water, a few tea bags, and a few hours of direct sunlight are all you need for sun-brewed tea.

| May/June 1979

Spring and summer are the seasons for iced tea, but who wants to stand over a stove to heat up steeping water when the weather's warm anyway? Instead, make sun-brewed tea with this super-simple, four-step method that lets the sun do the work for you!

[1] Find a half-gallon glass jug and fill be container up to an inch from its top with cool water. (Orange or grapefruit juice bottles work fine, but any vessel will do as long as the bottle's neck is wide enough to admit tea bags and the glass is clear, rather than frosted or tinted.)

[2] Hang five regular-sized tea bags (or an equivalent amount of leaves in a teaball) in the water. Then cap the jug tightly, letting the lid hold your bags in place. (if you prefer weaker "sippin's," use only four of the little leaf holders. If you want your infusion "too thick to drink and too thin to plow," try six tea sacks.

[3] Place the brewing flask outdoors in direct sunlight. Take a peek at the beverage every half hour or so to make sure ol' Sol's diurnal movement hasn't left your drink in the lurch (i.e., shade).

[4] Come back in two or three hours (or a bit later if the day's a tad cloudy or cool), and grab your juice. 'Tain't no more to it! The finished brew will be ready for drinking (if you serve it with ice). Or you can refrigerate the sun's "shine" until the next time a parching thirst scrapes the sides of your tonsils.

How does this solar brewing process work? Simple! The water in the glass stops and absorbs the sun's radiant heat. Then this closed "heat collector" starts the tea flavor to leaking out of the bags, which in turn makes the water darker, which—in turn again—makes the whole mix absorb more sunlight ... and so on and so on until your tea is deeply steeped.

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