$5 Friday: Sun Tea

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It sure feels like summer. 39 degrees Celsius on Monday, the first day that school went back here in Canberra for little preschoolers like Little A.  And not much cooler during the week.  This weekend is forecast to be hot once again – in the high 30s.

A glass of sun tea

In addition to finding ways to beating the heat, it has been a week of new things in my household.  My youngest, as I mentioned above, started preschool and his elder brother (Big A) started at a new school.  I am still unpacking boxes in our new unit, and (after a bit of melodrama) the sale and purchase of my new apartment settled.  I also started a new job.  This explains why my $5 Friday post was not quite out on Friday.

My kitchen is not fully ready yet; several boxes are still yet to be unpacked.  But I am enjoying being in the kitchen. And not being in the kitchen when it is too hot.

It always strikes me as crazy that we don’t use the heat of the sun more for cooking. There have been occasions when I have visited friends and it is in the high 30s outside, but inside the airconditioner is pumping and the oven is cranking out a frozen pizza or lasagna. In the middle of summer!  OK, I must admit I have been known to bake at crazy times and even in the heat, but I try not to heat up the house if possible.  Baking is a cosy thing to do in late Autumn and winter, but a chore on a hot day.

One of the things I love to drink to cool down on a hot summers day is iced tea. And one of the nicest types is sun tea.  This is quite popular in northern America, but for some reason most Aussies have never heard of it.  And we have the best weather for it!

There is nothing mystical about sun tea.  It is super easy, and results in a full and yet subtle flavour you don’t get from conventional boiled water brewing.  All you need is a decent sized container, a tea bag (or tea leaves) and some sun.  The iced tea pictured above is made from Earl Grey tea and sweetened with sugar syrup leftover from making candied orange peel.  It had a nice citrusy kick to it.  On super hot days I enjoy a lighter Kin Kin lemon mint iced tea – either sweetened or not sweetened.  And recently someone in my new Buy Nothing Project group gifted me some Nilgiri Orthodox tea that is quite special.  Experiment and see what you like best.

Ingredients (makes one litre)
1 tea bag
3 tablespoons of sugar (optional – I have a sweet tooth)


  1. Find a large container. I usually prefer glass for sun tea (such as a one litre jar with a good lid), or a good quality BPA free plastic container (such as a drink bottle).
  2. Fill the glass jar or container with one litre of water. Add 1 tea bag.  Place in a hot place in the sun, and also it to brew naturally for several hours. Ideally put it somewhere that playful young children or animals won’t knock over easily.
  3. If you wish to sweeten,open the lid, add the sugar and shake gently until the sugar has dissolved. I am always amazed at how warm the container is on a hot day.
  4. Allow to chill and serve over ice, with a squeeze of lemon or a sprig of mint if desired.


Tea bag – up to 23c (mine were gifted so free)
Sugar – 10c

Total:  33c for a litre (this is definitely in the high range based on gourmet tea)
Compared with coca cola:  between $2 on special and $4.20 for 1.25 litres.

Sun tea



    1. Ever so kind of you. Sadly I can’t lay credit to the name or the method. It is a common beverage in the US – from the south I think, but don’t quote me. Strange it hasn’t caught on here. With 41 degree heatwaves we have plenty of sun to harness for making sun tea.

  1. I’m always surprised the number of people who do something crazy like bake a roast on a hot day. OK, I have been known to do crazy things in the kitchen on hot days, too. But certainly keeping things cool really helps.

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