Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Drinks: Sun Tea

The bottle with the white cap is green mint and the black cap is rhubarb oolong.

There are a variety of blogs that I read and Design Sponge is one of my favorites. It’s all about various takes on design from refurbishing old furniture, to home design to (my favorite) food and drinks. After all, good food is designed well.

One of segments that I enjoy is called Small Measures with Ashley. A few weeks ago Ashley posted about Herbal Sun Teas and Simple Syrups. I hadn’t heard of sun tea prior to an unfortunate episode of 30 Rock, thankfully real sun tea is quite delicious. In addition to the herbal sun teas that are described in Design Sponge the more traditional way is to use actual tea. Poking around at the farmer’s market today I coudn’t find any fresh herbs for sale, so I went with actual tea because the sun was shining, and herbs or not, I wanted to try out sun tea.

We couldn't resist trying some of the mint tea before taking pictures.

Andy wanted some mint tea and our mint plant hasn’t quite recovered from the Kentucky Derby and mint juleps. So we got Northwest Minty Green tea from Whole Foods, it has peppermint and spearmint in addition to the green tea. In addition to that, I had purchased some Rhubarb Oolong from Franklin Tea last night and thought it’d be great as a sun tea.

The concept of sun tea is that you use the warmth of the sun to steep the tea or herbs instead of using boiling water. Since temperatures brushed up to 100 today not spending time in the kitchen with a hot oven sounded like a good idea. Ideally, you want the tea to steep for 5-8 hours in a bright sunny spot, for some reason it decided to rain today so my tea only steeped for 2 hours. I used ½ gallon jugs and about 4 tea bags (or teaspoons) per jug. Since my Rhubarb Oolong tea is loose leaf I fashioned tea bags from coffee filters and string. I was quite proud that my make-shift tea bags leaked fewer leaves than the commercial made bags.

Despite the lack of steeping time my sun teas turned out delicious! I can only imagine what kinds of flavor would come out with more time in the sun. This is a great summertime drink because it’s cool, refreshing and doesn’t take much effort. Let me know if you make sun tea, I’m curious to hear about what other teas and herbs you use. Enjoy!

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