Sweet Tea is the summer drink of choice across the American South. As the days heat up, it’s time to get your tea game on-point!
EE Sales-Rep LeeAnn Harrington is a professionally trained chef. In Texas, where she hails from, folks sip their iced tea without sugar. But during the five years LeeAnn spent in Orlando, FL studying at LeCordon Bleu, she developed a sweet tooth and learned to drink Sweet Tea like a local.
Chef LeeAnn is a perfectionist; when we asked for Sweet Tea tips using fairly-traded teas, she told us she’d have to experiment a bit. She’s been interested in the science of cooking since childhood, when she made her first pudding from scratch, marveling as the ingredients thickened from a watery liquid to a rich, velvety texture.
True to form, Chef LeeAnn tweaked her Southern Sweet Tea recipe until she achieved just the right blend of flavorful and refreshing.
Southern Sweet Tea recipe
Here are Chef LeeAnn's instructions for black tea, green tea and herbal tea. Try all three versions for peak summer chill!
- 6-8 bags Equal Exchange black tea
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 16 cups water
- fresh mint optional
- sliced citrus optional
Combine the granulated sugar with two cups of water in a medium-sized saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring continuously with a large spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.
Over medium heat, bring another saucepan with four cups of room temperature water to 212 degrees F, or just to boiling, (not a rolling boil).
Remove from the heat, and place the 6-8 bags of tea in the saucepan. Cover with a lid and let the bags steep for 4-5 minutes.
Remove the tea bags and let the brewed tea cool to room temperature. Leaving the bags in for much longer than five minutes can result in a bitter taste!
When both mixtures are at room temperature, combine them in a gallon size container and add the remaining 10 cups of water.
Place in the refrigerator for at least eight hours to allow the tea to cool sufficiently.
Once the mixture is prepared and chilled, you can add fresh mint, sliced oranges, or sliced lemons. Serve cold over ice. Enjoy!
Variations on this theme:
Try substituting Equal Exchange Organic Green Tea! Bring the water to boil, then let cool to 170-180 degrees and steep for just 2-3 minutes before removing tea bags and continuing with the recipe as written above. Or use a caffeine-free Organic Herbal Tea from Equal Exchange such as Rooibos, Peppermint, Ginger or Chamomile. Bring the water to boil, 212 degrees F. Immediately add teabags, but steep for longer, 8-10 minutes.