16 February, 2017
Easy Sweet Tea
Hoo boy, has it been a busy week! I apologize for the delay! Monday was a day of job searching and voice acting. I injured one of my fingers on Tuesday, so it’s been hard to type, and then family errands have kept me busy through Wednesday… So, here’s Thursday and here I am!
Due to the busyness of this week, I never got to make the crock pot dinner I wanted to make, but I did finally figure out how to make a fantastic sweet tea. It’s super easy, and since it’s sweetened with honey, it’s better for you than most sweet teas you could buy at the store.
The trick with black teas is brewing them just right so that you don’t end up with bitter tea. It has to do with how hot the water is, how long it steeps, how much the bags are stirred — lots of little factors. I’ve been trying for YEEEEEEEEARS to get this right, and I finally have, so please, enjoy this simple but not at all bitter sweet tea. I’m super proud of it.
This will make you two quarts of yummy sweet tea.
2 quarts water
1 cup honey
6 bags black tea
This is where it gets detailed.
Fill a saucepan with the two quarts of water, and place it over high heat until it begins to simmer. Once the bubbles have formed on the bottom of the pan and are rolling gently (little bubbles; we’re simmering, not boiling), add the cup of honey. I use a medium sauce pan for this, and the honey is enough to coat the entire bottom of the pot.
Using a slotted spoon, gently stir the honey so that it mixes in with the water. While the water is still in motion, drop in the teabags and gently press them into the water so that the bags get completely wet. Do not stir the teabags.
Take the pot off the heat and let the tea bags steep on the stove or counter (don’t put it in the fridge) until the tea reaches room temperature. Don’t steep them for more than about 8 hours, or your tea will get bitter.
Once the tea has cooled, pour it into your favorite pitcher and remove the teabags. Chill the tea and serve it nice and cold!
Now, why all the special precautions? It’s a relatively simple recipe with a seemingly unnecessarily complicated process. Let’s start with water temperature:
If the water temperature for your tea is too hot, it breaks down the tannins in the tea, leaving you with bitter, nasty tea. When you make tea, you should never bring the water to a full boil. Boiling the water can also burn tea leaves, which, as you can probably imagine if you’ve ever burnt something while cooking, makes them taste nasty and bitter. If you want to see a neat guide for heating tea water, check out this link. A little ways down the page, it mentions “stages” of heating the water. We’re aiming for stage 2, on their scale.
Next, there’s the matter of stirring the tea. Why don’t you want to stir the bags? If your guess had something to do with the tannins, you’d be right! Stirring can accelerate the steeping process, which, with finely processed teas (and especially black teas) can lead to too many tannins being released into your tea!
Branching off of that matter, we come to the final one, and that is steeping time. When you’re dealing with making iced herbal teas, I’ve personally found that I like to leave the herbal tea bag(s) in the cold brew, as it brings out those flavors. When you’re working with black teas, however, leaving the tea bags in just makes the brew bitter, so it’s best to take them out when you’re done.
Hopefully this little recipe taught you something cool about tea, and if nothing else, I hope you enjoy the homemade sweet tea recipe!