I know, I know, “Wendi! What’s with putting up a cool refreshing glass of The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea while most of the nation is covered in hurricane mess?”. Well, I’ll tell you why. This site is about comfort food – unapologetically so – and there is NOTHING that is more comforting than a big tall glass of my mama’s southern sweet tea. It tastes EXACTLY like home.
So there. If you don’t want to see the secret to perfect southern sweet tea, then go suck on a lemon somewhere else. Lol. Better yet, go make some lemonade. I’ve got a recipe for you – it is right HERE.
Anyway, in all seriousness, sweet tea is so quintessentially “home” that I thought we could all use a good dose of it today.
In fact, someone wrote to me wanting to know how to make The Secret to Perfect Southern Sweet Tea and that is why you are seeing this recipe today.
At our house, Mr. Loaves and Dishes is the tea maker. To be honest, as a young adult, I didn’t know how to make tea EXCEPT if I made it in the little enamel coated saucepan that my mom owns. Since she held onto it tightly when I moved out (that woman has a real grip – because I tried!), alas, I was on my own for tea.
The reason my mama’s pan is so essential for tea making is because it is brown from YEARS of tea making up to the EXACT spot that you should fill the water. It is sunny yellow everywhere else. That is how I grew up making tea and it is the only way I know how. Without the little yellow pot, I am sunk!
That is all true – until Mr. Loaves and Dishes arrived on the scene and bravely and magnificently just KNEW how to make tea in ANY pot! WOW! Now you know the secret of our love affair. Plus, you are going to know the secret to PERFECT Southern Sweet Tea as well! (I’m telling his secrets!).
No more depending on the dark “tea line” on the saucepan.
No more guessing at the amount of sugar.
No more wondering how many tea bags to use.
No more trying to understand when to add the sugar.
I’m sharing ALL of the secrets right here with exact measurements. No more guessing!
THE RECIPE FOR THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN SWEET TEA
- 2 Quarts fresh cold water
- 1 heaping Cup of Granulated white sugar
- 4 regular size tea bags or one gallon size tea bag we prefer Luzianne or Lipton
- 2 Quarts fresh cold water
In a medium sized stock pot, combine 2 quarts of fresh water and 1 Cup of granulated white sugar.
Turn the burner on medium heat and allow to heat until the water is beginning to steam but is not yet starting to boil. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.
Place the tea bags into the water, place the lid on the saucepan and turn the heat off. Allow to come to room temperature.
Remove the tea bags and gently squeeze to remove any remaining tea. Discard tea bags.
Pour the tea concentrate into a gallon size tea pitcher and add the remaining 2 quarts of cool water.
Serve over a full glass of ice cubes.
Tips and Tricks FOR THE SECRET TO PERFECT SOUTHERN SWEET TEA
- This is so straightforward, there really aren’t many tricks.
- The first tip is USE GOOD WATER. If your water is overpoweringly loaded with chemicals so that it smells like a swimming pool, then use bottled water instead. I remember my dad would always bring some of my grandma’s well water home from our visits there to make tea with at home. That is how important good water is!
- Do NOT USE cheap/discount/ no name tea. It is worth a dollar or so more to get good name brand tea. Trust me on that. (At our house, we prefer Luzianne or Lipton – there are other good brands too – just look around)
- Do NOT USE instant tea. Just no.
- Don’t boil the water – that bounces the tea bags around too much.
- When you put the tea bags in the water, make sure they sink down, but not so far that you lose the little paper tags.
- Don’t forget to stir the water BEFORE you put the tea bag in – that is what finishes dissolving the sugar.
- DO NOT get to fresh with those tea bags when you are squeezing them out – they break easily – and if they do you are going to have tea dirt all in your tea. It won’t hurt you – but it is gritty and no one likes gritty tea.
- Use a pitcher that is going to be your “Tea Pitcher” and then keep it meticulously clean! Tea spoils quickly and as my grandmother used to say, “It goes on the blink” or “it gets blinky”. I still say that. I had to teach sweet hubby what I was talking about. However, his tastebuds aren’t as sensitive as mine are for blinky tea. We like to use glass tea pitchers at home (I feel like I can get them cleaner). In fact, I’ll put a link below if you want to see the exact ones we use. We love them. They pour great and you can make just half a gallon at the time if you want or one pitcher of sweet and one of unsweet (we have a diabetic in our family).
- That’s it – you are are free to make your tea!
- One more thing – If you are having friends over who may enjoy MORE or LESS sugar in their tea, you can always make a simple syrup and allow everyone to sweeten their own tea. It is the perfect way to suit a crowd. I wrote all about that HERE.
A VERSE TO SHARE
I’ve really been thinking about something as I have watched the “Texas Navy” and the “Cajun Navy” hard at work rescuing people. First of all, I have been thinking, what in the world would we do without brave people who just “KNOW” how to get things done?
We would be sunk, wouldn’t we?
That made me think of the multiple bible verses that instruct us not to lean on our own understanding. I’ve been thinking about Bible verses that teach that trusting in your own heart is foolish.
We know that to be true, right?
But what about these heroes in Texas?
I think the difference is that while they might have taken the charge and bravely headed off to lands unknown, they still did so with a prayerful heart.
In Paul’s letter to his son, Timothy, he explains this pretty well. In fact, I’ll just leave it here for you to read over. In verse 7, Paul writes: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
Amen Paul, amen. Thank you Lord for people brave enough to step out to help others.
2 Timothy 1: 1-14
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Fan the Flame
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame,because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.