What is Sun Tea?
Sun tea is a beverage made by steeping tea in water under the rays of the sun. The heat from the sun brews the tea, instilling the flavors of the tea leaves, spices, herbs, or fruits used. Also, this tea can be refrigerated to make the beverage more refreshing.
- Iced tea has a lighter flavor because the tannins in teas are not fully released under low temperatures.
- This iced variety of this beverage is popular during summer months.
Some popular varieties of tea include:
- Black tea
- Green tea
- Oolong tea
- White tea
- Pu-erh tea
The method of brewing tea with sunlight is believed to have existed for about 3,000 years. This process is thought to have begun in China, where the tradition of tea drinking began. Later on, this practice reached North America and other parts of Asia, where it was adopted for its health benefits. To this day, people brew tea with sunlight, using different tea leaves and spices. Also, a variety of fruits can be utilized to add flavor.
An 8 fl. oz serving contains:
This tea offers some health benefits, as it is filled with antioxidants that help protect the body against free radicals. Furthermore, because it is steeped at a low temperature, all the nutrients in the tea remain intact. Tannins, a type of polyphenol, and are at their optimal level in sun tea.
Also, this tea can help reduce heart disease and manage weight. Additionally, it is known to help improve gum health and combat bad breath, especially when made with mint. Not to mention, this tea may also aid digestion.
Although steeping tea using sunlight may deliver good flavor, this method is not recommended as it can cause some side effects. Tea brewed using sunlight can be filled with bacteria called Alcaligenes Viscolactis, which is dangerous for health and can make you sick. This is often the case when the tea becomes syrupy or thick, which is why it is best to avoid this drink.
Using sunlight to steep or extract tea is not suitable for commercial purposes. However, if the method is used, production involves simply adding tea bags or leaves into pre-boiled or distilled water. Then, the concoction is left under sunlight for 3-4 hours.
To make this tea at home, add tea into a clear jar filled with pre-boiled water. You can use green, black or herbal tea. Then, leave it under sunlight to steep for 3 hours. This tea may be stored in the fridge for up to a day.
Sun tea recipes
This tea can be enjoyed in many ways. Here are some popular recipes:
The FDA has no specific regulations regarding this tea. However, the organization has standards and specifications for the tea bags or infusers. Furthermore, all processing must be done in accordance with the sanitary and safety requirements of the FDA.
Kanuckel, Amber. “Make Sun Tea!” Farmers’ Almanac, Farmers’ Almanac, 5 Dec. 2020, www.farmersalmanac.com/make-sun-tea-this-summer-21885.
Smith, Jenna. “The Dangers of Sun Tea.” Illinois Extension, University of Illinois, 5 July 2018, extension.illinois.edu/blogs/simply-nutritious-quick-and-delicious/2018-07-05-dangers-sun-tea.
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Draft Guidance on Factors That Distinguish Liquid Dietary Supplements.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/draft-guidance-industry-factors-distinguish-liquid-dietary-supplements-beverages-considerations.