Brew pure goodness under the sun! Elevate tea moments with our effortless sun tea recipe. Savor nature’s essence in every sip.

Imagine a sip of sunshine in a glass – that’s the magic of sun tea! Sun tea is not your ordinary cup of tea; it’s a slow dance between tea leaves and sunlight, creating a refreshing and laid-back beverage that captures the essence of warm days.

Here’s the scoop: making sun tea is as easy as soaking your favorite tea bags in water and letting them bask in the sun’s gentle rays for a few hours. The sun’s warmth works its wonders, infusing the water with the subtle flavors of the tea leaves. It’s like nature’s way of brewing, offering a simple and delightful alternative to boiling water on the stove.

Sun tea isn’t just about the end result; it’s about enjoying the journey. Picture a clear pitcher with tea bags lazily floating in the water, soaking up the sun’s energy. As you wait, anticipation builds, and the aromas of the brewing tea mingle with the outdoor breeze. It’s a celebration of simplicity, inviting you to slow down, take a break, and savor the unhurried moments.

The best part? Sun tea is a versatile canvas. Experiment with different tea blends, add a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint, and make it your own. So, if you’re craving a taste of sunshine in a glass, grab your favorite tea, find a sunny spot, and let the sun tea magic unfold!

Reasons to love Sun Tea

  • Simple and Relaxing Process: One of the reasons to love sun tea is its simplicity. Brewing sun tea is a laid-back and uncomplicated process. Just place your favorite tea bags in water, set it in the sun, and let nature do its work. It’s a hands-off approach that encourages a slower, more relaxed pace.
  • Natural Infusion: Sun tea harnesses the natural power of the sun to infuse the water with the flavors of the tea leaves. The gentle heat imparts a mellow and subtle taste to the tea, creating a beverage that feels closer to nature. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy tea without the need for boiling water on the stove.
  • Versatility in Flavors: Sun tea is a versatile canvas for creativity. You can experiment with different tea blends, add fruits, herbs, or spices to customize the flavor according to your preferences. Whether you enjoy it sweetened or unsweetened, sun tea allows you to tailor the taste to suit your mood.
  • Perfect for Gatherings: Sun tea is a great addition to gatherings and social events. Its communal and easygoing nature makes it a conversation starter. Whether you’re hosting a picnic, barbecue, or just enjoying a sunny day with friends, a pitcher of sun tea adds a refreshing touch to the occasion.
  • A Refreshing Sip of Summer: There’s something inherently refreshing about sun tea, making it an ideal beverage for warm weather. It’s a cool and revitalizing drink that perfectly complements the laid-back vibes of summer, making it a favorite during picnics, beach outings, or lazy afternoons in the backyard.
Sun tea in a glass

What is sun tea?

Sun tea is a method of brewing tea that uses the heat of the sun to steep tea leaves in water, resulting in a naturally infused and refreshing beverage. The process is simple: tea bags are placed in a container of water and then exposed to sunlight for a few hours. The sun’s warmth gradually causes the tea to infuse into the water, creating a milder and gentler flavor compared to traditional hot brewing methods.


  • Tea Bags: Choose your favorite tea variety, such as black tea, green tea, or herbal tea. The tea bags will be immersed in water to infuse their flavors into the brew.
  • Water: Clear, filtered water is essential for making a clean and refreshing sun tea. The water serves as the base for the tea infusion.
  • Container: A clear glass or plastic container with a lid or cover is ideal for making sun tea. The transparency allows sunlight to penetrate, aiding in the brewing process.
  • Sweetener (Optional): Sugar or any preferred sweetener can be added to taste once the tea has brewed. This step is optional and depends on personal preference.
  • Garnishes (Optional): Enhance the flavor and appearance of your sun tea with optional garnishes like lemon slices, mint leaves, or fruit wedges. These additions can add a touch of freshness and visual appeal.
  • Ice Cubes: To serve your sun tea chilled, have ice cubes on hand. They will cool down the tea, making it a perfect refreshing drink, especially on warm days.
  • Sunshine: Last but not least, you’ll need sunlight! Choose a sunny spot outdoors to place your container and let the natural warmth of the sun gently brew your tea.
sun tea lemon juice and slices

How to make sun tea

  • Choose Your Tea: Select 4-6 of your favorite tea bags. Black tea is a classic choice, but feel free to experiment with green tea or herbal blends.
  • Prepare the Container: Use a clear container with a lid or cover. A gallon-sized pitcher works well. Make sure it’s clean and able to withstand sunlight.
  • Add Tea Bags: Fill the container with 1 gallon of water. Drop in the tea bags, ensuring they are fully submerged. If your container has a lid, secure it.
  • Place in the Sun: Find a sunny spot outdoors. Set the container in direct sunlight, allowing the tea to steep naturally. Let it sit for 2-4 hours, depending on your desired strength and the intensity of the sun.
  • Sweeten (Optional): If you prefer sweet tea, add sugar or your preferred sweetener to the container once the steeping is complete. Stir well until the sweetener dissolves.
  • Garnish (Optional): Enhance the flavor by adding optional garnishes like lemon slices, mint leaves, or fruit wedges. Stir gently to incorporate.
  • Remove Tea Bags: Take out the tea bags once the desired strength is reached. If you added sweetener, stir again to ensure it’s evenly distributed.
  • Chill and Serve: Refrigerate the sun tea until it’s nice and cold. Serve over ice cubes and enjoy the refreshing taste of your homemade sun tea.


  • Fruit Infusion: Add fresh or frozen fruit slices to the water before steeping. Try combinations like lemon and orange slices, berries, or even a handful of pineapple chunks for a fruity twist.
  • Herbal Blend: Use herbal tea bags or a combination of herbs like mint, chamomile, or lavender for a soothing and aromatic herbal sun tea.
  • Iced Chai Sun Tea: Use chai tea bags for a spiced version. Add a cinnamon stick or a dash of ground cinnamon, and sweeten with honey or condensed milk for an iced chai sun tea.
  • Citrus Burst: Enhance the citrusy notes by adding lemon, lime, or orange zest to the tea bags. You can also squeeze a bit of citrus juice into the brewed tea for an extra kick.
  • Green Tea with Ginger and Honey: Use green tea bags and add fresh ginger slices to the water. Sweeten with honey for a refreshing green tea with a hint of spice.
  • Minty Fresh: Create a cooling sensation by adding fresh mint leaves to the tea bags. This is perfect for a hot summer day.
  • Berries and Basil: Combine tea bags with a handful of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) and a few fresh basil leaves for a vibrant and flavorful concoction.
  • Coconut Lime Sun Tea: Use coconut-flavored black tea bags and add lime slices for a tropical-inspired sun tea. You can also top it with coconut water for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Hibiscus Delight: experiment with hibiscus tea bags for a tangy and vibrant sun tea. Add a touch of honey and garnish with orange slices for a delightful treat.
  • Peach Passion: Include peach tea bags or add fresh peach slices to regular black tea for a sweet and aromatic peach-flavored sun tea.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Choose Quality Tea: Use good-quality tea bags or loose-leaf tea for the best flavor. Experiment with different tea varieties to discover your favorite combination.
  • Select a Suitable Container: Use a clear glass or plastic container to allow sunlight to penetrate. Make sure it’s clean and has a lid to protect the tea from debris or insects.
  • Water Matters: Use filtered or bottled water for a clean and crisp taste. Tap water with a strong chlorine flavor may affect the final result.
  • Mind the Sunlight: Place the container in a sunny spot where it will receive direct sunlight. Check the weather forecast, and aim for a day with consistent sunlight for optimal brewing.
  • Brewing Time: The brewing time can vary based on sunlight intensity. On a bright day, 2-4 hours is usually sufficient. Longer steeping times can make the tea bitter, so monitor it closely.
  • Experiment with Flavors: Add fruits, herbs, or spices to infuse additional flavors. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try different combinations to suit your taste preferences.
  • Sweetening: If you prefer sweet tea, add sugar or sweetener once the steeping is complete. Stir well to ensure even sweetness. Liquid sweeteners or simple syrup can dissolve more easily.
  • Serve Over Ice: For the most refreshing experience, serve your sun tea over ice. It’s perfect for hot days and adds a crispness to the drink.
  • Refrigerate Promptly: Once the sun tea is brewed to your liking, remove the tea bags and promptly refrigerate it to prevent the growth of bacteria. It’s best served cold.
  • Monitor Safety: While the sun does the work, it’s essential to consider safety. Make sure the container is heat-resistant and won’t crack under prolonged exposure to sunlight.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you sweeten sweet tea?

You can really sweeten your tea any way you like. I generally add my sugar and mix it until it has dissolved, but you can use a simple syrup as well. You can sweeten it with honey, sugar, stevia, or any alternative sweetener.

Is sun tea safe to drink?

The issue with sun tea is that it never reaches a hot enough temperature to kill bacteria, and bacteria like to breed in warm conditions at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees. When making your sun tea, make sure you don’t add anything other than your tea and water. If you are concerned about the bacteria once it has steeped in the sun, you can put it into a pot and bring it to a boil and that will kill any bacteria.

Can I add ice directly to the sun tea to cool it down?

It’s better to refrigerate the tea first and then add ice when serving. Adding ice directly may dilute the flavors.

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The Best Sun Tea Recipe

This beverage is so easy because all you need is the sun, tea, and water and you have a delicious, refreshing beverage.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 minute
Sun brewing 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 1 minute
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 95.2 kcal


  • 1 glass canister


  • 8 black tea bags
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 cup sugar or preferred sweetener
  • lemon slices or lemon juice


  • Pour water into one gallon container with lid.. Lay tea bags across the rim of container so tea bags are floating in the water. Cover with lid, using lid to secure tea bags at the top.
  • Set container outside in direct sun for 5 – 6 hours, until tea has brewed to your tastes.
  • Bring inside and add sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Serve over ice.
Keyword sun tea, sweet tea
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