Friday, May 18, 2012

Homemade Sweet Herbal Tea

I know that for most of my readers, making sweet or iced tea at home is nothing new.  But up until a few years ago, I never really got the recipe down right.  I know, I know.  How hard can it be to make sweet tea?  Water, tea bags and sugar, done!

Well, it wasn't as easy as that, at least for me.  I normally just make sun tea, but it wasn't that old southern "traditional" sweet tea.  But I think I finally figured out how to make a good sweet tea!

In my feeble attempt to be more "healthy" (as I type this there are blueberry muffins in the oven, BTW), I've been making an almost-herbal tea, i.e. three parts herbal tea to one part black tea.

Start a kettle of hot water on the stove.  Three herbal tea bags and one black tea bag go into a 1/2 gallon mason jar and I pour about 3 cups of almost-boiling water over it.  While the tea is steeping, you need to start a sugar syrup.  Put about a 1/2  cup each of sugar and the hot water from the kettle in a heat-proof bowl or mug and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.  

After the tea has steeped for about ten to fifteen minutes, take the tea bags out of the jar and fill the jar with ice cubes and then almost top it off with cold water.  Then slowly add some of the sugar syrup and stir and keep tasting until it's as sweet as you'd like.

If the tea is going to be just for Rhiannon and I, I will add several drops of liquid stevia extract to sweeten it instead of using the sugar syrup.  I've also used honey when it seems to blend well with the kind of herbal tea used.

Nothing beats a tall glass of ice cold sweet tea after pulling weeds all day in the sun!


  1. Replies
    1. I will also make decafe green tea with no sugar. Steep for 4 hours, then pour over ice.

  2. Thank you for posting this! I know you told me how to do it when we were down there but I forgot and Joe has been bugging me NON-STOP ever since we got back home to make it. He LOVES your sweet tea!

  3. It always sounds good, but I've never quite adapted to just how sweet that sweet tea can be. Guess I was born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon line.

  4. Being a born and bred northerner, I know I don't make my iced tea anywhere near the "sweet" you lovely southerners make yours. However, I must admit there are times when I do like the sound (and I'll bet the taste, too) of sweet tea. I'm saving your recipe and will give it a try. Thanks for sharing.

    P.S. When you use just the stevia, do you notice any bitterness or after-taste? That's always been my problem when using it.

  5. The simple syrup mixes in so well whereas regular sugar never seems to completely dissolve! :)
    P.S. I put my goat milk yogurt instructions in the comments of my blog from yesterday for you!

  6. Sandy, I haven't made green iced tea yet, must put that on the "todo" list. Although I'll probably end up sweetening it!

    Christine, I think he liked the non-herbal tea, so just use four "normal" tea bags.

    Charade, I was born in the 'burbs of Chicago, so you've got me on how I came to like sweet tea. Although I do believe it started once I came down here.

    Mama Pea, I don't really think it has much to do with North vs. South as I was technically born up North (although not as "UP" there as you are), it's just the fact that I have an insane sweet tooth. I don't seem to notice the bitter aftertaste anymore with the Stevia, although I've probably become accustomed to it as I've been using it for probably seven or eight years now. I do, however, splurge and get the liquid extract which may not be as bitter as the pure leaf form or the powdered form in the little packets.

    Candy C., I think you're correct as in the sugar syrup blends much better with the tea opposed to just dumping the dry sugar in the tea. Thanks for the recipe! I'm going over there right now as I just twenty minutes ago took yet another runny batch out of the yogurt maker :(

  7. Hmmm... I guess I don't have southern taste buds because I can't stomach the idea of putting sugar in tea. I like it strong and straight... the stronger the better!

    Just curious, what is the health rationale behind going herbal rather than regular tea? I've always heard that tea is full of healthy anti-oxidants.

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