Sun Tea

Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.

-Edith Wharton

I normally don’t take naps, but when I’m here at the Cape house, it hits me just how much I could use some rest.  As I recline on the deck, I look up to take in my surroundings. Birds chatter with one another; squirrels hop from tree to tree, rustling against branches and leaves along the way.  At first I find this activity distracting, but soon these sounds meld into white noise and I quickly conk out. It’s a deep, cleansing sleep.

I’m awaken by the sharp clink of ice hitting a glass.  Eric hovers, a warm smile on his face, and he places the ice tea on the table beside me.  I study the glass, which has begun to sweat, and am struck by it’s gold hue.  The first sip has the herbal notes one would expect, but it’s more subtle, a result of steeping in the sun.  It takes me a moment to focus on the world again, but by the time the tea is gone, all is fresh and clear.

Sun Tea

*Note: You can use your preferred flavor of tea, but for this recipe, I use regular herbal tea so there are no competing flavors with the mint.


4 herbal tea bags*

1/4 cup mint leaves


Sugar/agave/honey (optional)

Special Equipment

2 Quart Glass Jar


Place the tea bags and mint leaves in the glass jar.  Fill with water and cover with lid.  Place the jar in the sun for 4-5 hours, or until it has reached your desired strength.

Serve over ice and sweeten using your preferred sweetener.

Store container of tea in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, as the tea does not keep as well as iced tea made with boiling water.

  • August 13, 2012 - 8:41 am

    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. - wow we used to make this all the time growing up in the south. Very fun Brian!ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 9:35 am

    MikeVFMK - Love this Brian! Perfect for two tea lovers like us and for the days ahead. I’m craving it now.ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 11:17 am

    JulieD - I love tea, Brian…your sun tea sounds and looks amazing!! I love summer, can we keep the sun but have it stay at 70 degrees? :)ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 11:32 am

    Denise - I have been itching to make sun tea all summer. My mom use to make it, and I could sit back and enjoy all day. Love!ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 11:42 am

    Jeanette - I made some “counter” tea this summer with green tea and fresh mint, but next time I’ll put it outside – sounds like it might have a more subtle taste.ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 12:12 pm

    Kristen - I’m a big sun tea fan… the perfect summer drink!ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 1:51 pm

    Megan @ Megan's Munchies - This brings back so many wonderful memories for me! I remember sun tea brewing in my backyard every day during the summer and we had mint that we grew in our backyard. :)ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 2:24 pm

    Eileen - My mom used to make big batches of sun tea all summer long, in one of those very 70s glass pitchers with the plastic spigot at the bottom. So refreshing!ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 4:16 pm

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I am soooo craving this now! It looks wonderfully refreshing!ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 5:15 pm

    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic - Sun tea and siesta sound perfect to me :)ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 5:34 pm

    Jessica@AKitchenAddiction - I love summer tea! It’s so refreshing and perfect for summer!ReplyCancel

  • August 13, 2012 - 6:11 pm

    Carolyn - My husband keeps promising to make sun tea…i think I need to forward him this link!ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 7:31 am

    TidyMom - We haven’t made sun tea in years…….I bought an orange mint plant I’m dying to use in tea, so I think I need to make some soon!! I only drink tea when I’m out, so I’m not sure why I don’t make it at home.ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 11:19 am

    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective - Oh Brian, this slaps me right back to childhood. My momma ALWAYS made sun tea!ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 12:31 pm

    Amanda - Love it! So perfect for summer :)ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 12:36 pm

    Kiran @ - This definitely brought back many wonderful childhood memories :)ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 2:29 pm

    Andrew Frishman - MMnnn. . . I LOVES me some Tea especially when it’s sunny!

    me encanta té caliente (cuando no tiene cafeina)ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 3:25 pm

    Lora @cakeduchess - I remember my mom making us sun tea on hot summer days. There is something so wonderful and deep about the tea that was made out under the sun. I miss naps and they are such a luxury:)ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 4:06 pm

    Barbara | Creative Culinary - I love the idea of sun tea; something about making something without the power of electricity is simplicity at its’ best.

    But what I really love is that napkin. It simply looks like summer.ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 4:14 pm

    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel - I haven’t done this since I was little. Boy do I miss sun tea. And naps are a summer must… and maybe winter too. Can we just make it a daily must? :)ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 5:54 pm

    Lisa | With Style and Grace - Oh, I’m all about the naps and a big jug of this iced tea!ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 7:03 pm

    kale - A cleansing nap and waking up to this refreshing tea, sign me up, please!ReplyCancel

  • August 14, 2012 - 10:43 pm

    Monet - Sun tea AND Edith? You know how to win a girl’s heart. This looks lovely, my friend. Thank you for sharing with me. Oh sweet summer. Nothing better.ReplyCancel

  • August 15, 2012 - 8:21 am

    Joanne - I love the name you’ve decided to give this tea. Mint always tastes very bright to me, so it’s just about perfect. I love those summer mornings and afternoons where you just have the whole day ahead of you and can sit in the sun, drinking iced tea. There aren’t enough of them.ReplyCancel

  • August 15, 2012 - 5:36 pm

    naomi - Love your sun tea – summer perfect!ReplyCancel

  • August 16, 2012 - 12:15 pm

    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction - I just started making my own sun tea this summer, and it is divine. If you have it on hand, you’ll have to try adding some fresh lemon verbena leaves some time. I love to combine it with mint in my tea. Lovely post and photos!ReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2012 - 2:32 am

    Katerina - The perfect beverage after a good afternoon siesta! Very reviving and refreshing!ReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2012 - 7:29 am

    Aggie - There is nothing better than a glass of good iced herbal tea. I crave it. I’m also craving some down time at your Cape house but that’s another story.ReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2012 - 8:08 am

    Ken┃hungry rabbit - Definitely the poster beverage for the lazy hazy days of summer.ReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2012 - 10:29 am

    Jenny @ BAKE - what an amazing way to be woken up! your photos are gorgeous too!ReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2012 - 1:41 pm

    Shaina - I have been obsessed with iced tea this summer. We broke our sun tea pot, so I have been using this huge glass jar (4 gallons) to make it in massive amounts. I refuse to divulge how quickly I drain it, though. Gorgeous post, Brian!ReplyCancel

  • August 17, 2012 - 3:45 pm

    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen - A little mid-day nap on the deck sounds pretty perfect!ReplyCancel

  • August 19, 2012 - 6:34 pm

    Liren - I could use a nap right about now. And a big glass of tea to greet me when I wake would be even better. I look forward to glasses of tea and Southern hospitality when I visit my husband’s family in Texas, but this is perfect for those times in between.ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2012 - 7:45 am

    Another No Cook Summer Recipe | Capability : Mom - […] gazpacho recipe at A Thought For Food. Go visit this lovely blog – there is also a great Sun Tea recipe (a family […]ReplyCancel

  • August 21, 2012 - 9:55 am

    Lisa - Anyone else heard that cold brewing produces a better taste than sun tea? I don’t remember where I read it and haven’t tried a comparison myself, so I was wondering if anyone else has. The sun is so strong here in Colorado, I’ve always stuck with that method.ReplyCancel

  • August 22, 2012 - 11:32 am

    Andrea @ Vegvacious - Mmmm Sun Tea ~ being from Canada this was a totally foreign concept until my family moved to the rolling hills of Kentucky! Now this is my husband’s beverage of choice in the summertime! He likes plain ol’ tea, but I definitely like to ‘fancy’ it up with some herbal blends.ReplyCancel

  • August 25, 2012 - 5:58 am

    Hannah@cake-for-breakfast - this looks so simple but so perfect for summer, can’t wait until it warms up for me to try it out! xx HannahReplyCancel

  • September 2, 2012 - 10:47 am

    Diana - You photos are great. Your recipes inspire.ReplyCancel

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