When I think of summer, I picture a big jar of sun tea brewing out in the back yard and anticipate sipping an ice-cold glass of tea on the porch on a steamy summer afternoon or evening. The basic method is super easy – and there are lots of ways to add fun flavor to your own beautiful brew.

How to Make Sun Tea

recipe by Kate Etue at Simply Recipes


  • 4- 8 regular tea bags or 4-8 teaspoons of loose tea in a tea ball or filter bag(s)
  • Water


  1. Put 4 to 8 tea bags into a clean 2 quart or gallon glass container (4 teabags for a 2-quart container, 8 tea bags for a gallon container). Fill with water and cap.
  2. Place outside where the sunlight can strike the container for about 3 to 5 hours. Move the container if necessary to keep it in the sun. When the tea has reached its desired strength, remove from sun and put it in the refrigerator. You may or may not want to remove the tea bags at this point. I usually don’t. (If using loose tea, strain out the leaves when pouring into a glass.)
  3. Makes 1 gallon of tea.

Storing the tea:

The tea will taste more mellow than what you are used to from using boiling water. The slow steeping has a way of bringing out a slightly different flavor. Also, because you don’t use boiling water, you should refrigerate the tea and drink it up in a day or two.

Get amazing specialty loose teas from Wild Sage Tea Co. or Hidden Pond Farm at the Market.

Sun Tea Variations: Add-Ins That Bring the Flavor

Add herbs to your sun tea

I love a sprig of fresh mint in my tea, but brewing your tea with the mint from the start is absolutely delicious. But don’t stop at mint! You can try out fresh rosemary, thyme, or other summer herbs from your garden right now. This lemon rosemary sun tea at Better Homes and Gardens adds some citrus brightness to a lovely herby tea.

Cook’s Note: You can also use dried herbs in sun tea, but you’ll want to either strain them out before drinking or put them in a tea ball or filter bag for brewing as with loose leaf tea.

Add fresh fruit to your sun tea

It’s easy to slice up whatever fresh fruit you find at the Market in the summer, and add it to your sun tea pitcher before you pour in the water and tea bags. Make the most of the season with this peach sun tea recipe. Or think out of the box, with a creative watermelon blueberry sun tea recipe. Experiment with other fruits like blackberries, nectarines, plums, and apples.

Add fruit syrup to your sun tea

One easy trick: Brew a big jar of plain sun tea to keep on hand in the fridge, then change things up with variations on individual servings. For example, try pouring your tea into a tall glass with a spoonful of easy fruit-infused syrup (also good in cocktails, lemonade, or drizzled on ice cream).

Fruit-Infused Syrup


  • 1 cup sugar (or ¾ cup honey)
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 ounces fruit


Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until reduced by half. Strain into a small glass jar and cool completely before use. Store in the fridge.


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