Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sweet tea, anybody?

You know, you just can't beat a good cold glass of sweet tea. This is probably not news at all to any of you, but up until recently, I didn't really realize I could make my own at home easily.  Other than with those powdered "kool-aid"-style drink mixes, anyway - - and I don't like those. They taste nothing like actual tea. Anyhow, I had been buying sweet tea by the gallon at Kroger and never paying more than about $1.50 a gallon.  Cheap enough, right? For most people, yes. But I am one of those people who enjoys the PROCESS of making things as well as enjoying the end result of the fruits of my labor. So one day my husband bought a box of teas bags at the store. I reluctantly followed the directions on the package, added some sweetnin' was surprisingly good! This began my love of making my own tea, and I would like to share my process with you. I learned some tricks that made it easier when making more than just a cup - like making a whole GALLON jug.

I have told you I like to save anything that might be of use to me later on. A well rinsed and cleaned plastic milk jug fits the bill perfectly as a vessel for homemade sweet tea. I mean, that's what they sell it in anyway at the store! Starting with a clean plastic gallon jug, fill it with water. Pour the water into a four quart pot and turn the heat on high until it starts to boil. Here's one trick I learned that made life easier if you use tagless bags: set a metal colander right into the water to hold the tea bags. Once it's time to take them out, all you have to do is lift out the colander and toss the bags into the trash.  Also, if any of the little tea leaves try to escape, the colander sorta helps to hold them in place instead of having yucky floating stuff all in your tea.

Okay, back to the boiling water..... Once it comes to a boil, I just turn off the stove and place 14 tea bags in. Now the kind I get comes as a tagless double package, so I actually only put in 7 double bags. Let that sit (or is the word "steep"? I dunno.....) for about 15 minutes.

While your tea is sitting - or steeping or sleeping or whatever you wanna call it, you can go ahead and add your sugar to the empty gallon jug. I love to use old aluminum kitchen tools, so I use my little metal funnel and measuring cup to make the process easier. You know what a grainy sticky mess sugar can be if it is spilled! I add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of sugar, depending on what I have available.

Remove the colander full of tea bags and allow the tea to cool for probably 30 minutes before you try to transfer it to the jug. The easiest way I have found to transfer the tasty, newly brewed tea is with a glass measuring cup with a spout.

Now, time to clean up your mess while you wait for the tea to cool a little more! After you've cleaned it all up, here's your reward:

I mentioned the cost of a store bought gallon of tea earlier, so what does my tea cost? Here's a rough breakdown:

The tea in the photo is from Dollar General.  I am NOT brand loyal to anything unless something just tastes bad. I am all about value. This box of 100 Smart & Simple tagless teabags cost about $1.25. like I said, I use 14 bags (7 double bags) per gallon. That works out to roughly 7 gallons at a cost of about 18 cents each. Now for the sugar. I usually get a 4 pound bag of Kroger Value brand sugar for around $2.15 on sale. There are about 9 cups of sugar in a 4 pound bag, so that puts each cup at about 24 cents per cup. Since I add 1 1/2 to 2 cups, it costs 48 cents at the most to sweeten my gallon of tea. Cost of container is FREE, of course. 

SO - - the total cost of a gallon of refreshing, homemade sweet tea is a whopping 66 cents! 

Hmm, that DOES beat $1.50 - - by 84 cents, actually. It saved me enough to buy a nice candy bar to enjoy with my sweet tea..........or a pack of gum..........or a small bag of chips.

Have a wonderful and blessed day from our house to yours!


  1. Replies
    1. Indeed it was! As a matter of fact, I took a spaghetti jar full of it today with my lunch ;)

  2. Love tea, love your blog too!