Tea Recipes

How to Make Sun Tea

How to Make Sun Tea

There are plenty of ways to make a refreshing glass of tea in the summer - iced tea and cold brew tea are the most popular, but have you ever heard of sun tea? Sun tea may not be the fastest or most cutting-edge way to make tea, but it’s a nostalgic summer tradition. The novelty of making sun tea on a porch takes you back to those long, carefree summers as a kid. In between riding bikes and eating popsicles, nothing could quench your thirst like a rewarding glass of the sun tea you set out yourself.

Sips by is a personalized tea discovery subscription. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Members receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscription service.


The sun is shining, birds are singing, and you're ready to spend summer days lounging in your backyard. And what's a better accessory to summer lounging than a cool glass of iced tea? Sips by has the summer iced teas, teaware, and tea accessories to make your own personal tea oasis. So whether you're looking for delicious fruity teas to cold brew, convenient iced tea pitchers to make sun tea, or kits to take your summer tea options to the next level, Sips by's Summer Tea Shop has the tools you need to have a refreshing summer.

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The simplicity of sun tea is what makes it so delicious. It’s tea in water infused by the sun. Now, that’s not to say that making sun tea doesn’t require some skill and finesse - try picking the perfect spot outside where the sun directly hits your tea for several hours - before calling yourself a pro. This charming method of making tea dates back to the 19th century, but became extremely popular in the 1970s.

Once you watch the sun rays slowly brew your tea and transform the water to a beautiful golden color, you’ll forget all about needing to boil water to make your tea. The truth is that the flavor of tea leaves will infuse in any water - boiling, simmering, cold, lukewarm, you name it. Sun tea just takes more time than boiling water, but not as long as cold brewed tea. But what’s a better time to slow down and enjoy the process of making sun tea than on a long summer day?



On top of the novelty of steeping it, sun tea has many benefits. It can be brewed anywhere - you only need tea, water, a container, and the sun. Besides a rainy day getting in the way of your sun tea plans, it’s the most accessible way to make tea in places where electricity might not be available. Still craving a cup of tea when you’re camping or on a road trip? Just set it outside or on the dashboard of your car in the sun!

Plus, even the taste of sun tea is better. The slow steeping of the tea brings out a smoother taste that’s less astringent and acidic. Similar to cold brewed tea, sun tea also extracts less caffeine than hot tea while retaining the healthy antioxidants naturally present in tea.



In spite of the many benefits, sun tea is a controversial beverage. Some research shows that sun tea can be dangerous to drink, but only when it’s brewed incorrectly. Bacteria can grow in water at 130° F but are only killed at 195° F. In some cases, it’s possible for bacteria to grow in sun tea because the sun warms the water enough to promote growth but is not hot enough to kill them. However, it's possible to reduce this risk by making your sun tea correctly! Here are some safety tips to avoid bacteria growth in sun tea:

  • Use filtered water
  • Use a sterilized jar
  • Don’t leave sun tea out for longer than 4 hours
  • Add sweetener after it’s done steeping
  • Refrigerate sun tea immediately after steeping


How long sun tea takes to brew depends on several factors: the amount of sun tea you’re making, how hot it is outside, and your taste preference. Generally, it should take 1-4 hours to make sun tea. If you’re only making a small jar or bottle of sun tea, it should only take 1-2 hours to brew to perfection. If you’re making a large pitcher or dispenser of sun tea, you’re probably waiting for 3-4 hours on that glass of refreshing iced tea. As the sun moves, you may need to move your sun tea jar around to keep it in direct sunlight.


You can use any type of tea to make sun tea - loose leaf tea, tea bags, sachets, and large iced tea bags. Sun tea is traditionally made with a classic black tea, but the fun part is trying out different blends or mixing different flavors of tea together. We recommend making sun tea with a robust black tea first to get the classic experience, then try out more summery flavors like a fruity herbal tea or crisp green tea!

Try more teas for sun tea with your own Sips by Box.


Bask in the feeling of summer when making this nostalgic brew! Learn how to steep any tea in the sun for an uplifting and restorative warm-weather drink. Follow the recipe below to make a large batch of sun tea you can share, or simply try it out first by making one cup with 1-2 tea bags.


Makes 1 gallon (10-12 servings) // Prep Time: 5 minutes // Cook Time: 1-4 hours

What You'll Need

  • Filtered water
  • Loose leaf tea/bags/sachets
  • Glass pitcher, bottle, or jar with lid
  • Sunshine
  • Optional: Add sprigs of mint or sliced lemon
  • Optional: Sweeten with honey, agave, sugar, or simple syrup


Measure your tea. Use 8 tea bags or 5-8 tablespoons of loose-leaf tea per gallon of water. Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Sun tea is an unstuffy way to make tea so feel like you can experiment with different blends - you might just stumble upon the best concoction ever.

Fill your clear container with cold or room temperature water and add tea. Make sure you use a container with a lid so no bugs, dirt, or leaves fall in. (You might be bringing the tea to nature but you don’t really want nature in your tea.)

Set your container out in the sun - on a porch, a sunlit window, a car dashboard, etc.

Check the taste and color of your sun tea every hour, infusing it for up to 4 hours.

Refrigerate immediately and drink within 1-2 days, as sun tea won’t last as long as hot tea. Enjoy chilled over ice!

Take it further: Add fresh slices of lemon or sprigs of mint and sweeten with honey, agave, sugar, or simple syrup!

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


Summertime, and the sippin’s easy. If you believe, like we do, that tea is amazing all year ‘round, make the most out of summer tea with the Iced Tea Collection! It’s filled with fun and fruity tea blends to support all your outdoor activities, or for sitting on the porch and sipping with a nice book. Cheers!

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Interested in trying these teas and others? Subscribers receive 4 teas chosen just for them in every box. Learn more about our tea subscription box or explore the loose leaf tea shop.

About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.


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