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Sun Tea vs. Cold Brew Tea {And My Go-To Cold Brew Tea Recipe}

Interested in sun tea or cold brew tea? Want to know the difference between the two methods and which one is safe to drink? Here’s all you need to know, plus a recipe!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE to make iced tea.

Tea is full of antioxidants and, if you don’t add sweetener, an easy and healthy beverage you can drink all year long.

cold brew tea

Today, I’m sharing an easy recipe for making cold brew tea!

But first, let’s talk for a moment about sun tea, a popular alternative (especially in the south) to cold brew tea.

Is Sun Tea Safe to Drink?

Sun tea is made by placing tea bags in a pitcher of water, which is then left in direct sunlight.

It’s an easy tea-making method, but is it safe?

The short answer is NO.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, using the sun to make tea can help facilitate the growth of bacteria.

Tea steeped in a jar on your porch or deck won’t get any hotter than 130° Fahrenheit, which about the temperature of a really hot bath.

It’s not nearly hot enough to kill bacteria, germs and other icky things lurking either in the water or on the tea itself. For that, water needs to be heated to 195° for three to five minutes.

So the answer is no, sun tea isn’t safe to drink (however marginal the risk may be).

Fortunately, there’s a tasty and easy solution.

How to Make Cold Brew Tea

A safer alternative to sun tea is cold brew tea, which can also be called refrigerator tea.

You can use any tea bags you like for cold brew tea, including black tea, white tea or green.

I usually opt for green or white tea bags, personally. Trader Joe’s has a Pomegranate White Tea that is delicious. I also love plain green tea, which I then gussy up with lemon and/or mint leaves.

What Else to Add to Cold Brew Tea

This is where you can get creative!

I often add fruits, such as sliced lemons, limes or pomegranate seeds to my cold brew tea.

You can also add cut herbs! Mint is especially nice with almost any type of tea, and basil is another fun and versatile choice.

If you’d like to add sweetener, you can do that as well. A simple syrup, which is one part water and one part sugar, will be the easiest to dissolve in your cold brew tea.

I encourage you, though, to try this tea without any sweetener. Once you try it a few times, your taste buds will get used to the taste. It’ll be healthier, as well!

Here’s the full, quick recipe for you.

How to Make Cold Brew Tea

cold brew green tea

An easy recipe for cold brew tea, also known as refrigerator tea. It's a simple and easy recipe you can drink all year long.

Prep Time 2 minutes
Additional Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 2 minutes


  • Pitcher of Filtered Water
  • 6 Tea Bags


    To make cold brew tea, fill a pitcher with a quart of cold water, and add six tea bags.

    Refrigerate it at least six hours or overnight. Squeeze and remove the tea bags, and serve the tea over ice.

Did you make this recipe?

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cold brew tea recipe

Have you tried cold brew tea? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks so much for reading all about our Sun Tea vs. Cold Brew Tea {And My Go-To Cold Brew Tea Recipe}.

Have a lovely day!

Friday 30th of June 2023

24 bags to make a gal of tea! Are you serious!

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