Whenever the sun is shining and the temperature is even moderately warm, we almost always want to tear outside and get a pitcher of sun tea going. For me, it reminds me of those thoughtful moments with mom or grandma -- all that's missing is some clothes drying on the line and a pile of garden chores at the ready.
But when it comes to making a batch of sun tea, what is the best tea for sun tea? As you can expect, here at Plum Deluxe, we have opinions. Beyond choosing fresh, organic teas and loose leaf is best for the sun tea brewing process, there are some teas best for sun tea flavor. Here are our sun tea suggestions, as well as a handful of sun tea brewing tips at the end of this article.
Temperature Friendly: Green Tea & White Tea
Two of the best teas for sun tea, in my opinion, are green teas and white teas. Why? Because they don't like being steeped in boiling water in the first place, so they naturally enjoy a lukewarm water bath instead. Both of these teas are more fragile, hence why no boiling water, but do just fine in a sun tea pitcher.
I definitely suggest using twice as much green or white tea than you would for a hot cup of tea (for example, 2 teaspoons per 8 oz water) but also, green and white teas are excellent for a second steeping; once you've poured out your sun tea, fill the pitcher back up with cold water and throw it in the fridge overnight for a nice cold brew ready for you the next day. Oh, and as an extra bonus, I love green and white sun tea as a sangria infusion.
Go For Easy Infusions: Fruit, Flower, Hibiscus
Another option when you're looking for options when selecting the best tea for sun tea, I like to think about fruit and flowers. Fruit teas always steep out a ton of flavor (sometimes so much that I find some fruit teas are too acidic), which makes them perfect tea for sun tea. Hibiscus, and it's tea-making-cousin rose hip, also create generally strong flavor profiles so a little goes a long way in your sun tea pitcher.
And what's this about flowers? Well, generally you don't want flowers to steep too much because you can find yourself with a cup of tea that smells wonderful but tastes like soap. Flowers, particularly lavender, generally do really well in sun tea because of the gentle steeping process. Also, all of these these kinds of tea are perfect for pairing with a pitcher of lemonade!
Try: Hibiscus/Lime, Blackberry/Pomegranate, Apricot/Lavender
Never Any Doubt: Flavored Black Teas
Last but not least, I have to say with conviction the best tea for sun tea would be flavored black tea. Whether it's Assam or Ceylon or Kenyan, black teas create bold sun tea flavor under a variety of circumstances. The additions of the flavoring oils (always look for high quality flavor essences, not artificial flavors) are the proverbial icing on the cake, and I think make for a wonderful dance partner for picnics and backyard entertaining. There are also such a variety of options out there for flavors, from cherry to grape to maple or even grapefruit!
Sun Tea Brewing Tips
Now that you know you've got the best tea for sun tea, here are some additional reminders when making your pitcher of goodness:
- Make sure your tea has lots of room to steep. Instead of using a small tea ball or tea in bags, we strongly suggest letting the loose leaf tea float to get a full infusion, then strain it off afterwards. Using a small tea infuser in a big pitcher means you are missing out on flavor.
- More tea, not more time. Sun tea does need several hours of good sun to properly infuse. But if you're finding the flavor weak, don't leave the tea out for twice as long until you've added more tea. I mentioned above, I like to start with 2 tsp per 8 oz of water.
- Mix it up: Consider adding in your own custom elements to your tea; I like to throw in fresh fruit (strawberries, grapes, orange, melon are all amazing!) or some spices can add a nice zing. Don't be afraid to play mixologist.