Jul 25, 2012

Perfect Sweet Tea



Sweet Tea...
 Just hearing those words make ya sigh a satisfied sigh...


I am a Southern Woman... 
Southern women love their Sweet Tea...
And... I have been told I make the BEST Sweet Tea in Texas!
I'm gonna let you in on my little secret. 
Follow this simple recipe, and your life will be complete!


When I was in High School, I worked at a little Steak House in Texas City Texas called "Lone Star Steaks" 
The Lone Star was known for miles and miles around for two things....
They had this amazing Green Olive, Tomato, Vinegar & Oil  "House" salad dressing stuff. 
(Oh Man!! How I wish I knew that recipe!!) 
And... We made the Smoothest, Most Amazing, Last-Meal-Worthy, Sweet Tea in the South!
I'm not kidding! 
The local police officers would stop by several times a shift to fill their thermos with what they called  "Nectar of the Gods". 
People actually tried to bribe me for the secret to the Perfect Sweet Tea. 


I never gave it up. 
I never told. 
I was a good employee. 
Well, Guess what?!? 
Love Star Steaks closed a few years ago! 
So, I'm thinkin it's now ok to share the super-duper-secret recipe!! 


There IS a small "secret" ingredient in this Tea.
It removes all bitterness and creates a smooth, clear amazing Tea!

Ready?? 
Here goes!
Perfect Sweet Tea. (makes 1 gallon)
(Adapted from the Lone Star Steak House)


Ingredients -
5 - 8  Family size Tea Bags. (or 12 regular Tea Bags) 
                    ( I prefer  #1 Luzianne or  #2 Liptons Brand Teas.)
1 Quart  (4 Cups) - Boiling Water
3 Quarts (12 cups) - Cool Water
1 1/2 - 2 (one & a half) - Cups Sugar. 
1/4 teaspoon - Baking Soda (this IS the SECRET Ingredient!!)


Directions - 
1.  Sprinkle baking soda into a pitcher (I use a gallon-size Mason Jar but many people have voiced concerns about pouring boiling water into a glass container, so use whatever container you'd like)
      Add Tea bags to the pitcher/baking soda,  
      Pour Boiling water over tea bags, 
      Cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
                    ~*~
2.  Remove and toss out Tea Bags,
     Add Sugar and Stir until completely dissolved. 
     Add Cool Water.
     Refrigerate until cold and ready to drink.
                     ~*~
3.  Serve over ice, 
     Take a nice long sip.
     Swoon.
     Repeat. 


Ya'll Enjoy!!







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431 comments:

  1. I am so excited to try this ...this Canadian is very thankful for the recipe

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  2. I love sweet tea!! I never would have thought to use baking soda. My recipe is almost exactly like yours except the baking soda and I use 2 cups of sugar. I will have to try it with the baking soda. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Thanks for the baking soda tip, I too have been making mine similar to yours, sans baking soda. I'm going to try it today!

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  4. So glad to see someone else uses baking soda! I tell everyone to use a pinch of baking soda to take the bitterness out of the tea and they don't believe me. Thank you for validation. :)

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  5. This is the same recipe I've been using all my life. I never knew why I used baking soda (my mother always did, so I did too). People would question me throughout the years as to why, and I never knew what to say. It really is the secret ingredient.. makes it "smooth" somehow. I also have used 1/2 cup honey to the 1 cup sugar and that is also awesome.

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  6. I use a pinch of baking soda too! Never knew why...it's how my Mama taught me! (must be a North Carolina secret as well as Texas!)

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  7. We drink 1-2 gallons of sweet tea daily in my Southern home...
    I'm trying the baking soda idea right now.
    Thanks so much for sharing!!

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  8. I have some steeping right now.....definitely going in the kitchen to add baking soda....BRB! :)

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  9. I was wondering where did Lone Star used to be in Texas City? I've lived here my whole life and never heard of it. Just curious.

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    Replies
    1. I believe there is a CeCe's pizza in its place now, on Palmer Hwy.

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    2. It was originally where Cici's is now (or was the last time that I was there about 10 years ago). When I was in high school it briefly moved to a place across from Racetrack gas station, but it closed not long after that.

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  10. Would really like to know the exact kind of tea bags to get. Could you help a girl out?

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    Replies
    1. Red Diamond Tea bags are the best.

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    2. Luzianne tea bags... come in a box, says right on the box that they are made for iced tea.. i think using these really makes a difference

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    3. I use Lipton. You can use whatever you want, as long as it's labeled as iced tea.

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    4. Red Diamond most definitely...but for some reason Red Diamond is not bitter at all, its already smooth

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    5. I usually use Luzianne but bought Lipton last time because it was on sale. The Lipton bags can't stand up to the water being poured over them. They break every time. Anyone else had this happen? Even if I try to pour it beside them instead of directly over they still break.

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. My mother in law taught me this little trick. It really enhances the flavor of the tea...and turns it a little darker too!

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  13. I've never heard of the baking soda trick. I'll have to try it! I love my sweet tea (my recipe is the same as yours, sans soda), and when I travel I pack all the fixings for sweet tea to take with me. Can't stand to be in some strange city and not be able to get sweet tea!

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  14. My mother-in-love used the baking soda... Thru the years I forgot about it. Thanks for the reminder!

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  15. Im guessing it nutrilizesthe tanins removeing any bitterness...I Know a drop of milk will nutrilize the tanins 2

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    Replies
    1. It is actually neutralizing the acids. Tea and especially coffee, have a bitter aftertaste due to high acid content!

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    2. It's tannic acid. You're both right!

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  16. I am a true "old" southerner and come from generations of coal miners. I have never heard of anyone (from church gatherings, to family gatherings and reunions to those who work in restaurants) using 6 - 8 family tea bags for a gallon of tea. We use 3 - 4. Three regular tea bags = 1 family tea bag so the regular tea bags is accurate. We have always used the baking soda to "neutralize" the tea. One thing we do different is to boil water and dissolve the sugar to make a "syrup" then add it to the tea so you don't have those annoying sugar crystals throughout it and sinking to the bottom. Tea is an "art or skill" in the south lol

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    1. I had the same thoughts on the amount of tea bags. 6-8 seems way to strong. we use 3 family size, and do the same thing with the sugar. I am going to try the baking soda though. We texas do love our ice cold sweet tea!

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    2. I hate brown water, which is what I get sometimes when I go to restaurants. I WANT TEA!! So I say if the recipe calls for more tea bags then I was expecting, that is a GOOD THING! ;)

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    3. I thought that was a lot also! I make 2 gallons at a time and used 4 family size tea bags, let it steep for 20 min. pour hot tea into the 1 gal. pitcher that has 4 cups sugar, stir until ALL sugar is dissolved, add a bunch of ice to cool it down, stir, add water to the top, pour into two gallon(spouted) tea container, add 1 more gallon of ice cold water. (I hate hot tea poured over ice as it waters it down. My way of making it, its already cold :)

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    4. we use about 6 family tea bags any less is just colored water

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  17. We can't use sugar. Trying to find a sugar substitute that will come close. I have tried them all and we like sweet 'n low best. Any ideas?

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    Replies
    1. Can't use any or can't use that much? Here are the best subs. The most natural of all is stevia plant (glucose and calorie free) or agave syrup (not glucose free but low glycemic index). The best tasting sugar free or the sub with the lagave utter after taste is Splenda, but it is a little controversial. Do not use saccharine otherwise known a sweet n low

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    2. Use xylitol, it's an all natural sugar that is actually good for you. You can find it at the health food store.

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    3. try honey it makes it sweet and taste good with tea also they have liquid sweet n low that taste better then the powder and taste good in tea

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    4. I have used a mix of sweeteners... it helps you avoid the after taste. For me, I used just shy of one tablespoon of sweet 'n low, plus just shy of 1/4 cup of Splenda (or store brand equivalent) for each gallon of iced tea. Of course, you can adjust the amounts to your taste. Took several trial and error pitchers to get a blend that was just sweet enough without that nasty artificial sweetener after taste. Good luck!

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    5. Beware of sweet n low!!!! Seriously!! Or any other 'diet' products containing aspartame. For one, as far as the way your body metabolizes it, it's just like eating real sugar, and the most important thing... It is pure chemical and extremely bad for you and your loved ones!! You tube the video 'sweet misery' about aspartame and all of the bad things about it. Do your research!!!!! Just looking out!

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    6. Sweet n low is saccharin not aspartame. Equal is aspartame and I agree it's bad for the body, but then so are refined sugar, flour, and all processed food. Just a though. We each have to choose what we want and can afford to put into our bodies.

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    7. Well I use Splenda and it might be bad for me but if I use sugar then I am going to die and some of these othere sweetners that are better for you are just to darn expensive and most people can't afford them. So that leaves you little choice what to use.

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    8. Honey or Stevia.

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  18. As I was reading your blog I was pretty sure that the *baking soda* makes the difference. Nobody believes me but somehow the soda takes the bitterness out and makes it more smooth... all I know is that when people come over they ask is this *angie's tea*?? My friend told me to do that a long time ago. Plus she said brewing the sugar in the boiled tea makes it dissolve so that you have clear looking tea instead of grainy things floating around.

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  19. This is totally AWESOME sweet tea! The addition of the baking soda makes the difference. I've had similar great tasting tea but when I would ask the owner how it was made, there was always a vague reply and no mention at all of the baking soda. That must be the secret ingredient! I'm enjoying a tall glass of this wonderful tea right now. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  20. Here in Tennesse, Sweet Tea is like water to us. Who would have thought just a TINSY tiny bit of baking soda could make tea taste good. Boiling water right now to try it out. Looking forward to it....

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  21. Trying it right now!! That's all I drink is sweet tea..no sodas for me!

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  22. Won't adding boiling water to a glass pitcher cause it to crack? I really want to make this today but I don't want a cracked pitcher.

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    1. You have to temper the glass. You pour in a little bit of the boiling water and count to ten, then pour in a bit more and count to ten. Then the whole glass should be tempered (reached about the same warmness as the liquid being poured in) that you can pour in the rest of the water.

      If you want to do it a different way, have the glass sit in a sink of hot water while the kettle is coming to a boil.

      Now if you just poured in the hot water into a room temp glass, then yes it would crack.

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    2. Or you can just use a spoon in the jug or glass ( It must be Metal though ) & add water slowly pouring it over the spoon Works like a charm I've been doing it for 40 years For Hot water when needed then just pour the cold slowly in a little at a time & Presto !

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    3. Honestly, pouring boiling water into a glass pitcher is a bad, bad idea and it will almost always bust or crack. I would like to nicely suggest that the author change this and encourage people to steep their tea bags in a pan or teapot and add the hot tea into cool water that's already in the pitcher. There is no need to risk breaking things or getting hot water on yourself or someone else.

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    4. It works for the author because she's using a large canning jar, which is a special jar meant to be boiled. Most glass can't take that heat.

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    5. I did change it to not say glass.
      I have used many glass containers without a problem, but yes, it "can" cause breakage I suppose.
      I have also used plastic or even just a good old pot from the kitchen.
      Bottom line... as with any recipe/instructions Use your judgement.
      Thanks for the input!

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    6. Mason jars are tempered and made for hot liquids. Funny I think it's more dangerous to pour hot into plastic considering all the chemicals.

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    7. That's why she's suggesting things, she didn't say it's the only way. She has been nice enough to share her recipe. Please don't be petty, Amanda.

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    8. My Mom always say to put a spoon in the glass container. I have tried it with small glass cups but never tried it on larger ones =D hopes it helps.

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    9. To prevent a glas jug/pitcher from cracking or breaking, I was told when I was growing up to either put cold water in forst or put a kitchen knife in it (like a buthcer knife) before pouring the boiling water in.

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    10. Wo!I should've proofed that first.
      glass
      first
      butcher

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  23. Found this on pinterest today... Trying it right now! Thank you for this awesome tip. :)

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  24. My mama taught me this trick MANY years ago. I've now been making sweet tea for my sweetie for 42 years...he loves my tea:)

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  25. Found this on pinterest yesterday, made it this evening, became addicted 10 minutes ago. Wow! I've never been a big sweet tea fan but I just became a believer. This stuff is truly amazing! Thank you so much for this secret recipe!

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  26. I miss Lone Star Steaks. I was just talking about that place last week.

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  27. To avoid cracking your glass pitcher with boiling water, put a metal spoon in before pouring in the water... it absorbs the heat and keeps the pitcher from cracking...

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  28. I just tried it and it tastes amazing! I used 12 Lipton regular sized tea bags. And I also used a plastic pitcher and it worked just fine. It tastes great thanks for the amazing recipie. (:

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  29. We also did this in the restaurants in SC. I guess it is a hush hush commonality. LOL Also a pinch in the coffee filter before brewing a full pot was pretty common. :)

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  30. Yum! Must make this! My husband and I are from that area. He went to Dickinson high school. Thanks for sharing!

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  31. I've been putting soda in my tea for 30 years. My kids great grandmother put it in her tea. Told me it took the bitter out. I'm also from Texas.

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  32. The true best way to save your tea from getting bitter it to watch the temp of you water, too hot of water will burn the tea leafs and make your tea bitter; as will brewing it too long. 3-5 mins at 200 degree water.

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    1. this is what I've always thought too. I only add a pinch of soda if I let it brew to long.

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  33. I have been using baking soda to neutralize the acid in the tea for a few years now, and you are right, it really makes a difference. Don't try this with the herbal blend teas. One Thanksgiving I tried this and instead of getting a pretty ruby colored tea, it turned an ugly pea green!

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  34. You are so right, it is the baking soda that makes the difference! I am not a Southern Woman but make Sweet Tea in Ohio and when all my friends and family come over I go through pitcher after pitcher of it. Sweet Tea to me is like coffee to most : )

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    1. I'm from Ohio and began my obsession with Sweet Tea when I visited North and South Carolina in my teens. I drink nothing else but sweet tea all day long and night. I even make it at work! (Dunk a tea bag in cup of hot water - add some sugar then pour over ice. It's good in a pinch when I can't make it the proper way.) So excited to finally find out 'the secret'! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I was just in South Carolina 3 weeks ago - and they still will not tell 'the secret'. I feel blessed as Sweet Tea is my life source. ~ Jill

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  35. ahhhh, I've been doing this for years...my grandmother added the baking soda to take the cloudiness away.

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  36. just learned the baking soda secret recently and love it. Been making sweet tea all my life & it's my #1 drink besides Dr. Pepper. But that's an awful lot of tea bags, isn't it? That's 2x what I use. Just boil them for 1 minute. That's what my frugal Grandmother & Southern Living taught me. :)

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  37. If the baking soda will neutralize the tannins, I can make tea again! Had to give up my beloved "Not as Sweet Tea' due to real stomach problems from the tannins. I'll try it using decaf tea bags too. I always added the sugar to the boiling hot water to make sure it dissolved...I'm from Texas, lived in several cities, but halfway through HS ended up in League City....we had a choice of Texas City or Almeda for a movie...we liked Texas City more for the theater and I remember the Lone Star on Palmer. Boy, takes me back!

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  38. We have been using baking soda for years in our tea. Got that from my mother in law 20 years ago.. It's good!

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  39. I love tea, but don't like it sweet. I wonder of it will still work with three bitterness and won't taste the soda?

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  40. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_bicarbonate

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  41. For those with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, obesity or are just health conscious enough to know that a cup and a half of pure sugar is not something one would want to make a regular part of their diet, consider the following as an alternative:

    4 tea bags
    1 gallon of water
    *2 packets of powdered Stevia
    **(optional: Add a cinnamon stick)

    Place all in a glass pitcher
    Place outside in direct sunlight
    Leave for about 2-3 hour
    Re-fridgerate, add ice

    Enjoy

    *Stevia is a non-caloric sweetener that in about 200 X sweeter than table sugar (Although not suited as a replacement for sugar in many recipes, it works well in Ice Tea.
    ** Cinnamon can also increase insulin sensitivity, making a person metabolize sugar better (decreasing risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity)

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    1. WE MAKE TEA WITH 5 FAMILY TEA BAGS LUSIANNE DECAF. GET ABOUT A QUART PAN BRING TO BOIL, WITH TEA BAGS IN IT ,BOIL A COUPLE MINUTES .USE SWEET & LOW 20 PACKETS.WHILE WAITING, FILL YOUR PICTURE ABOUT HALF WAY WITH WATER, ADD SWEET AND LOW. POUR TEA IN PITCHER. ADD YOUR BAKING SODA, WHICH I'M GOING TO HAVE TO TRY,I'M DIABETIC& AND HAVE MADE IT THIS WAY FOR A LONG TIME.EVERY BODY DRINKS IT. RUBY IN KENTUCKY

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  42. I found out about the baking soda in 1967 and have been using it ever since....a friend from Georgia had told me about it.

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  43. My bf is a sweet tea-aholic! I'm def. going to try this for him!

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  44. Just how my aunt from Atlanta taught me how to make it 40 years ago! ;-)

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  45. O_o Really?

    Okay, Like any proper southern girl one of the first things I learned to make was sweet tea the next...chocolate chess pie. But baking soda???

    Just to appease my sheer curiosity at nearly 11pm I'm just going to have to try this...after I appease the homework gods and get this work done..

    Will let you know how it turns out.. I foresee a big ^________________________^ though

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  46. another great secret alot of restaurants use , is honey

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  47. pH and taste
    Sourness: Acid sourness is independently influenced by the concentration, pH, and anion species of acid [Sowalsky and Noble, 1998]. A lower pH at the same titratable acidity (TA) gives more sourness.

    Astringency: This is defined as a persistent sensation, increasing upon repeated ingestion. Astringency is affected by pH - as pH increases, astringency decreases [Noble, 1998; Peleg and Noble, 1999].

    Bitterness: pH has little or no affect on bitterness [Noble, 1998].

    Mouthfeel: higher pH's tend to give a rounder, softer, mouthfeel.

    Polymerisation: the higher the pH, the slower the polymerisation and the more unstable the colour.

    http://www.brsquared.org/wine/Articles/pH.htm

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    1. The pH of tea varies widely depending on the strength of the tea, and the type of tea used. Some green teas, such as chun mee, which have a sour flavor, are naturally slightly more acidic.

      The more strongly you brew tea (meaning, the more leaf used per amount of water, and the longer the steeping time), the more acidic the tea will be, and thus, the lower the pH will be.

      There are many sources that state the pH of ordinary black tea is normally from 6.0 - 6.6, but one scientific study measured it as low as 4.9. Even this lower figure is still within the normal range of mild food and drink. Soft drinks, by comparison, have a much lower pH. For comparison, pure lemon juice has a pH of around 2. The pH of tea is high enough that it is not a matter of health concern for anyone.

      Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_pH_of_tea#ixzz22dyVWUnd

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    2. It sounds to me that What the Baking soda is doing in just that small amount is raising the PH closer to Neutral or Ph of 7 since most common tea i have seen used it black tea. or a mix including it..

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  48. Thanks! Will try this tomorrow. I have never heard of using baking soda :-) Guess we don't do that in WV!

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  49. I use this recipe, but I only use 10 tea bags versus 12.

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  50. Why do so many people boil their tea??? Bad! Bad tea drinkers. This saddens me. Steep it!!!

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    Replies
    1. I don't boil my tea.... I do, however, bring the water to boiling BEFORE adding it to the tea bags.

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  51. Could I use stevia in stead of sugar ?

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    Replies
    1. I use sugar, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't use stevia.

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  52. So ....what is the ph of a perfect glass of tea? guess it depends on the tasters preference, what should be the ph of tea before adding the baking soda, would that depend on the water you are making the tea with? Making Tea, just got complicated! LOL!

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  53. I love this!!! I make sun tea!! Put tea bags, sugar, water and baking soda in gallon glass jar and tighten lid. Then, sit it in the sun outside and let the sun cook it. It gets pretty hot, even to the touch. After an hour or two (depending) on the heat and color, take it in and refrigerate and discard tea. I use 4 regular tea bags, 1 1/2 cups sugar, baking soda and a gallon water.

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  54. I was born in TC and loved Lone Star Steaks! The tea was legendary and the house salad I still make! Was always a hit at our weekly church dinner.
    Thanks for the baking soda reminder (I moved away to NY and Toronto and had forgotten that trick).

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    1. You have the recipe for the house salad dressing/topping stuff???
      You would be my new BFF if you sent me THAT recipe!!
      Dana @ Homesteading Housewife . Com

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    2. could I get that hose salad dressing recipe too?
      rpray@cox.net

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    3. Please, I would love to have the recipe for the house salad dressing, too!

      dlcarnall@yahoo.com

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    4. I would also love the recipe for the house salad
      becca6583@yahoo.com

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  55. We would all like the salad dressing recipe. But if u don't want to put it public please send to me to SHEMOOQUILTS@yahoo.com. :0)

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  56. I can't wait to try your recipe. I don't know why I haven't thought of using baking soda in tea because my mother always puts a pinch on top of the coffee that she puts in her automatic coffee maker. She says she does it to take the bitter taste away.

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  57. Wonderful tea. I finally know how to make great tea!

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  58. I'd like dressing recipe too please.. beaches1001@sbcglobal.net

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  59. One other note... Avoid plastic and metal serving/storage containers. They will alter the flavor of your tea as well!

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  60. I can't beleive how some people can pick at something like the strengh of the tea one drinks. We are not whimps with our tea. If you really love tea you don't want the flavor watered down. You want it to be able to hold up to the hot... hot summer weather with lots of ice. Thanks you so much for the tip. I will try it today. And here is another tip for some out there, adjust to suit your self.
    Dana, you are a Kitchen Godess!
    Thanks again. Alida

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    1. Amen! The stronger the better!

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  61. I have never really cared for tea until McDonald's sweet tea...
    So I Googled McDonald's sweet tea recipe.... guess what it is the same recipe baking soda and all

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  62. LOL...well some of you may be shocked. We go through about 2 gallons a day when the boys are all home (we have 4). I use 2-3 family size Luzianne decaf tea bags per gallon...boil a big pan of water drop in 4-5 bags cover with a lid to steep...and sometimes I steep it all morning (busy with other things)....then we add about 2 cups per gallon of sugar. None of us have weight issues or diabetes etc. Now I will say that there are times when we cut back to 1-1/2 cups or so of sugar...tastes change with the seasons it seems. I've never heard of the whole baking soda bit but you can bet your bottom dollar I'm going to give 'er a go!!

    PS...I too carry my tea fixin's with me when we travel up North to Wisconsin....usually a jar of undiluted already sweetened. All I have to do is add more water to dilute it a glass at a time.

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  63. I Love this!!! Ok so I usually make my sweet tea very similar to this but not the baking soda! and although my tea was very good it always left a bitter after tast.. I made this sweet tea yesterday and OH MY!! it was amazing! my husband and I drank the whole gallon in less then a day! And I am steeping some as I type this review! Thank you sooo much for this!! Just brought back my love for sweet tea! (:

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  64. Dana- Thaks for the tea recipe! Can't wait to try it with the baking soda. Now I will tell you that I am envious of that gallon mason jar!!! :) Where were you so lucky to find that??

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  65. Thanks so much for the tea recipe. I use Luzianne decaf (available at WalMart and Kroger and Meijers) and always boiling water. I have two glass pitchers that were gifts from a dear friend who knows how much I love my tea. She bought one for my home and one for my office. She got them at Crate & Barrel. And I can pour boiling water in them, have for years. But, to be honest, I rarely refrigerate my tea or put ice in the pitchers. I put the ice in the glass. I make a pitcher of tea in the morning and start drinking it just before lunch. By the time I leave the office, that pitcher has been washed and cleaned and ready for the next day's offering of goodness. And yes, I boil the water at the office. Gotta love that microwave!

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  66. Saw this on Homestead Survival's facebook page. Tried it! It works! THANK YOU!!!

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  67. I made a half gallon last night, I went to bed, woke up in the morning to find my boyfriend had come home from work and drank the entire jug to himself! I'm going to have to make a new batch every day!!

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  68. Lone Star is still alive and well. there is one 5 minutes from my home. thanks for the recipe:)

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  69. This sounds PERFECT! Will be making this later :D Thank you!

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  70. My husband just got back from Missouri for army duty, where he learned to LOVE (like, addiction-type of love, LOL) Sweet Tea. So I have been making Sun Tea for him and I think it made him fall in love with me all over again. ;0 )
    I'll have to try out this baking soda secret though.

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  71. I am really excited to give my daughter this recipe! She loves sweet tea and I've never made it. Thank-you!

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  72. Too funny. We have always used baking soda because it takes that bitter aftertaste out and makes the tea just perfect. I had read about this tip ages ago and so glad that it really works!

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  73. When you said "secret ingredient" Baking soda was the first thing that came to mind. It may be A secret in Texas but not in the Carolinas










    '

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  74. It's even better with no baking soda, but some fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Please, any brewed iced tea is better than the battery acid out of bottles and cans now served in most restaurants outside the South!

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  75. I never heard of using that..will do from now on! Thanks for the tip

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  76. WOW. I have never heard of the addition of baking soda to tea but it makes sense. I will try it. I have been making 'sun' tea all summer with my endless supply of mint growing like crazy. When I make traditional sweet tea, boiling the water with mint, then adding tea to steep, then sugar I will definitely add the soda. Thanks!

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  77. As far as pouring boiling water into glass,in a gallon size, I would put a butcher knife or long serrated knife into the jar, then, pour the water down the blade. Have been doing this forever and never even cracked a jar. My mother taught me this. I am 67, so we know it has been done many years.

    I will try with baking soda, this is new idea for me. I will also use stevia, it is from a plant and with zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and does NOT cause inflammation like sugar does or cancer/lost of memory as artificial sweeteners does. I will try and see if bs removes the bitterness. Thanks.

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  78. My sis-in-law just mentioned the other day that her tea has been tasting bitter. I'm showing her this post. Thank you for sharing!

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  79. Just made it, and love it!!! Thank you for sharing!!

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  80. I find that using some Bigelow Plantation Mint tea with the other tea bags gives my tea VERY slight edge that most people can't put their finger on, but it's amazing. I'll have to try the baking soda.

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  81. Lord, that's a lot of drama over tea! I grew up right down the road from Texas City and use at least that many tea bags and 2 cups of sugar to a gallon. Anything less isn't worth drinking ;).

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  82. OMG!! This is so wonderfull to finaly have the secret! I did how ever cut down on the sugar as my hubby did not like it as sweet but it was right on the money in taste and flavor if made according to the recipe! I have more seeping now! Thank you so much for sharing this with us from the Pacific Northwest! ;-)

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  83. I have always poured my hot tea water into a glass pitcher and have never had the pitcher crack or break. I grew drinking sweet tea - grandma taught me how to make it when I was little.

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  84. So excited to try the baking soda! Thank you for sharing.
    RE: the # of tea bags --- i use 4 family size per gallon + 1 regular-sized bag of flavored tea (Any flavor seems to be great)---- It gives just a hint of flavor and makes the tea strong enough to balance all the ice we use in our glasses!

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  85. hi there...i have already made a batch of iced tea..but was unaware of the "secret" ingredient! CAn I add the baking soda after it has already been made/chilled? DO TELL!! thanks.

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  86. I believe the baking soda (sodium) blocks the tastebuds that detect bitter flavors. You can even add a few shakes of salt to any food or drink that is bitter and it will help. Love Sweet Tea, can't wait to make some.

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  87. The right brand of tea does make a difference. My family has used Tetly orange pekot tea for many years. We boil the water and remove it from heat and then put a tea bag in it. You don't allow it to steep too long or it will become bitter. If you plan on making extra tea you need to use less sugar because the longer it sits the sweeter it gets.

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  88. My grandmother and mom always added baking soda to sweet tea. This is nothing new. I'm 32 and always remember them doing this while growing up.

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  89. Although my hubby won't drink sweet tea (he likes his unsweetened with lemon added), I am going to try the baking soda sans the sugar. Also, I've been using this many tea bags for my tea forever and agree -- any less and it just isn't robust enough for me. As for pouring in glass etc... it has worked for me for years too. Sometimes people just worry too much! I guess we are going to have to mark our recipes with warnings 'glass container may explode', 'this could worsen your diabetes', blah blah blah.

    Thanks so much for sharing your tip!

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  90. It's Lipton tea and 2 cups of real sugar for this Tennessee girl that's transplanted in Iowa! There's nothing like drinking a glass of "brown sugar water" (as my hubby calls it!) Makes my day better just thinking about home! :)

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  91. Awesome! I tried out sweet tea for the first time when I went down to Texas last September. It was amazing! I can't wait to try this out at home and share it with my family!

    Thanks from Vancouver, BC, Canada!

    ~Maggie

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  92. Sounds delicious! There is just no substitute for that refined white sugar in tea! I have heard to add one Constant Comment bag of tea to your usual bags for a nice flavor as well, haven't tried it myself yet, but it sounds good. Also, the secret to keeping glass from shattering when using boiling water is to have a metal spoon in it when adding the boiling water as it will absorb the heat. This especially applies to adding ice to hot water such as when making sweet tea or gelatin. Thanks for sharing this secret ingredient! : )

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  93. Mums almost done brewing!! We are huge sweet tea fans and I can't wait to try it :) thank u so much for the recipe! I never would have thought to use baking soda!

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  94. Thanks for the Tea recipe.Stopping by to say Hi from the blog hop. Come visit sometime, tea is cold and no shoes are required. Kathy B. http://www.southernmadeintheshade.blogspot.com New follower from Austin TX

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  95. I use 2 Luzianne decaf family size tea bags to make a gallon of sweet tea. I place the tea bags in the "coffee area" of the coffee maker and add about 1/2 pot of water. Let this brew, place the tea bags in the brewed tea in to the refrig to sit overnight. I use my Sweet Tea Container, add 12 Sweet and Low packets, pour in the tea, fill the coffee pot (with tea bags in it) 1/2 full again with water and pour into the Sweet Tea Container, then fill with water to top off. I will try the baking soda, I sometimes get indigestion from the tea?

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  96. I use Luzianne brand tea, too! 6 family sized bags.

    Do NOT SQUEEZE the tea bags when done brewing. That and the addition of a pinch of baking soda (like one half of 1/8th teaspoon per gallon) makes your tea smooth and clear!

    I have used the baking soda trick for years...it's close to the McDonalds brewed tea, which I love.

    I use the granulated Splenda as sweetener....

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  97. This is definitely not a secret that belongs to The Lonely Star. My grandmothers mother put baking soda in her sweet tea and all the women in my family have done so for all these years.

    Just had to stand up for a family recipe. ;)

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  98. We have a Stevia plant growing in my herb garden. I take some clippings of it and step it with the tea for sweet tea. It is natural and wonderful. Sometimes I also add a little mint (or basil, I have had fun playing with the different herbs in tea). It is pretty good tea and doesn't last long.

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  99. Please don't pour boiling water into a Mason jar or any other glass container! I burned my legs and feet horribly after a glass bowl I was making tea in exploded. Use stainless steel! :)

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  100. must be a south carolina tradition also. my grandmother has made her tea this way for years. i make it this way also

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  101. I make mine sort of like this, but I boil my sugar with my water, then add the baking soda (I like to watch it bubble up- must be the kid in me?) & tea bags, LIGHTLY boil 2-3 minutes, let sit 10-15 minutes then pour over ice... EVERYONE LOVES MY TEA! I thought that I was doing something special LOL

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  102. no secret. my grandmother did this . every one loves it. some people that I told this to, did not believe me. But, my family in Georgia loves it.

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  103. No secret here, either. Baking soda is what my fiance uses each time he makes tea, but only uses 2 tea bags for a gallon of tea. I just need to remember this when I try to make it myself.

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  104. A clean, heavy dinner knife in the bottle when you pour in the boiling water will absorb the initial heat. My Mom's trick. -- jgates

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  105. Very few things will take my husband away from his precious video game time on the weekends. When I told him about this trick he urged me to go try it . . . this tea is "pause-my-video-games" worthy! Now we must have a pitcher in the fridge at all times!

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  106. I grew up in Texas City and Lonestar did have the best sweet tea. They also had the best chicken fried steak, too! Thanks for the recipe. I now live in Missouri and miss the food from the south. I also miss SW Tookies hamburgers!

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    1. Oooooh Tookies!
      I took my teens there for the first time this year!
      Another generation in live with their burgers and fantastic onion rings!

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  107. while sitting here cooking dinner for my family.. Im not in the mood for soda.. or water. I want TEA!! so what do i do.. i remember seeing this and got my laptop and writing thi from my kitchen as I start to pour the hot tea into the milk jug with the cold water... brb while i mix..........*swooon* OMG THIS IS GOOD!!! no bitter after taste... it is smooth!! TY i will now do this for now on instad of tossing tea bags into a picture and letting it sit half the day LOL!!!!..

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  108. Sweet tea is my favorite beverage. My mom and dad made the best sweet tea in the world. They never used baking soda. I can't wait to try this. I will post again to let you know what I think.

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  109. Seems like if you don't let the tea bags sit as long as you do (far too long) then you would not need to take away the bitter tannin with baking soda?

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  110. I followed your recipe exactly...# of tea bags...time to steep...etc..and this sweet tea was Perfect!! My husband thanks you..as sweet tea is his favorite.

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  111. Mason jars are meant to withstand boiling water! :)

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  112. I've always made a simple syrup (2 1/2 cups sugar and 2 1/2 cups boiling water) and then add the tea bags after I've stirred the boiling water and sugar together and there is no bitter after taste. I will have to try the baking soda when I am out of my go to tea (Community Coffee brand Tea) and the others are more bitter.

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  113. i'm 24 yrs old and i have been making tea since i was 13. before my Nana passed when i was 12 she taught me how to make her sweet tea... she always added a pinch of baking soda to her tea when she cooked it. i've known this secret and have told some of my friends bc they all loved her sweet tea.

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  114. Very similar way - add 4 tea bags to cold water in a 4 cup Pyrex mixing bowl. Put in microwave for 6.5 minutes. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Add 1.5 cups of sugar to a plastic pitcher - pour hot tea in, stir until sugar dissolves and add 4 cups of cold water and chill in fridge. It's always perfect every time. I think with adding the baking soda it will be even better now - can not wait to try this tonight. I am a 24/7 Sweet Tea drinker. I don't leave the house without my mason jar shaped glass full of iced sweet tea - never!

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  115. I just made me some today. Thanks for the secret...That makes it so good...

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  116. I am a huge fan of sweet tea...and this is the BEST recipe that I have found. I make mine with Splenda because I am trying to watch my sugar intake, and it tastes just as good. I practically drink an entire 2 quarts each day! Thanks for the recipe!!!

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  117. Can this be done with the sugar? Half of the family drinks it unsweetened, the other half uses splenda.
    Thanks

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  118. I have an iced tea maker and make a gallon daily around here. I'll be trying this soon, but not all the time because of high blood pressure and baking soda daily does not mix.

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  119. If I were to remove the sugar in this, would this taste like the unsweetened tea found in the south as well? I lived in the US for a bit, became addicted to it, moved back to canada, and could never figure out how they made unsweetened iced tea so delicious.

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  120. Could someone please tell me where I can get a gallon sized glass jar? Not a pitcher. I need something with a lid for Sun tea.
    No, I would really rather not have to eat a gallon of pickles! :)

    Thanks

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    1. Places like Walmart or Target have glass containers with a tap on the front of them. They are probably on clearance right now, too! That's what I have used for years and mine finally just broke. :(

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  121. I'm not sure what restaurants do in Texas for unsweetened tea, but I'm a Texas girl who grew up loving the flavor of the tea with no sugar or lemon. My home made just boiling water on tea bags made our neighbors swoon when we lived out of the state and region. I don't know what I did... Just good tea bags. But I'm going to try baking soda with unsweetened tea and see how it tastes!

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  122. Can't wait to make for my hubby! We live in MN & they only even sell one kind of sweet tea up here and it really isn't any good :) THANKS!!!

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  123. Adding baking soda to sweeet tea isn't a "Texas" secret. I live in Eastern North Carolina and I've always added baking soda to my sweet tea, however I do it a little differently than your recipe. I boil my tea bags (I only use 4 family tea bags or 8 small ones)in the microwave for four minutes. Then I add a pinch of baking soda to it. You have to be careful or it will boil over. Then I add the water, tea and baking soda into a pitcher which already has the sugar in it. I don't let the tea bags fall into the picture, however I squeeze all of the tea liquid I can out of the tea bags being careful not to burst them, then I throw them away. I stir the tea until the sugar is dissolved in the hot water and then add enough cold water to fill the pitcher (sugar doesn't dissolve in cold water). The baking soda takes out the bitterness and also makes the tea darker than it would be without it.

    I was raised on sweet tea and will always LOVE it.

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  124. I've never heard of this, but I'll try it. You need to try my recipe though...

    One gallon, usual process.
    1 2/3 cup sugar
    9 teabags of Red Rose decaf
    1 teabag of Earl Grey

    My friends call this my special-tea

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  125. I grew up in Texas. I never noticed anyone adding any baking soda but I really must try this. thank you

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  126. My mother told me baking soda keeps it fresh longer...I've never really noticed a difference in taste because of baking soda. I'm in south Georgia

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  127. This is a trick that old timers used back in the day to keep it fresh longer. A little boost of flavor, however, is not worth all of the negative effects daily consumption of baking soda has on the body. THIS IS NOT HEALTHY!!! DAILY CONSUMPTION OF BAKING SODA IS A HORRIBLE IDEA AND I'M SHOCKED THAT ANYONE IS PROMOTING IT!!! Seriously!!! Where should I start... consuming baking soda daily (even in small amounts): 1. lowers your potassium 2. can cause alkalosis- which affects ALL of your organs 3. increases sodium levels in your body which has a wide array of health issues 4. can elevate blood pressure 5. aggravate heart disease 6. lead to digestive problems and prevent your body from absorbing nutrients. There are a whole lot of other health issues that it can cause, but maybe that will give you an idea ~

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    1. You are three gallons of crazy in a two gallon bucket. Calm down or you WILL raise your blood pressure and affect all your organs. Geez...

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    2. Seriously Marsha? Do you never bake or eat anything made with baking soda? I think you are going highly overboard!

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  128. you have quite a hostile audience. I have never made sweet tea. Since I fell in love with someone from Virginia I had to learn how.. Thank you for your fabulous Sweet Tea recipe. He tells me at least once a day its the best Sweet Tea he has ever had.. Thanks!

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  129. The only reason a glass container would crack or break would be if the jar was COLD. The extreme change in temperature is what would cause the crack. If the jar was just sitting in your cupboard, it would be fine. The glass mason jars are specifically manufactured to withstand the extreme temperature changes of canning. I have NEVER had a true Mason or Ball canning jar ever crack, ever and i have put boiling jam, water, fruit, etc. into room temp jars.
    Oh, and Marsha, im going to pick on you since you were one of the last to comment. If you are going to spout off about something, you should know for a FACT what you are speaking about. Baking soda is NOT bad for you in moderation and in fact its recommended that people with Gout and Arthritis, just to mention a couple, consume 1 - 2 tsp. of BS mixed with 8 oz of water daily to help sooth symptoms. Now, i dont know about other people, but i would MUCH rather my husband consume the baking soda, to help his arthritis in his back than to take the pills that have 2 pages of serious side effects, that include death. As with anything, get the facts first, consult your doctor.
    THANK YOU for the sweet tea recipe! Im going to go try it RIGHT NOW! :) WITH the baking soda! ;)

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  130. First off let me say, everyone has a right to their own opinions and tastes. We're all different and we all like different things.
    What I was taught was that if you steep the tea leaves too long they will burn and be bitter. If that happens use a pinch of baking soda. I would imagine that using more tea would mean it would be a bit more bitter too. I personally don't prefer my tea that strong unless it's hot, but that's just me.
    For me tea making is a ritual. Place pot on stove with water to boil, spin three family sized tea bags together and place on stove top. Take tea pitcher and fill with 1-2 inch of filtered water, add 1 1/2 cup splenda and top off with 4 cups of filtered crushed ice. The ice cools the tea quickly so the leaves don't burn). Once water boils drop in tea bags and immediately remove from burner. Dip in and out by stings until bags are saturated. Let steep 3-7 mins never more (If steeps to long add baking soda..lol) Pour tea over ice, refill pan with about an inch of water, dipping tea bags in and out several time, repeat this process until pitcher is full. Give bags a gentle squeeze and throw bag out. Pour a big glass and place the rest in the fridge.

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  131. oh btw who wouldn't thought an article on making sweet tea would have been so controversial? I can only imagine what an article about Grits would be like...lol
    Have a good day, from here in Hot Texas

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  132. Just made this, i used 1 & 1/2 cup splenda, 12 regular size bags and it is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it, those who are concerned about pouring hot water in should chill, i mixed my sugar in the pot i boiled the tea, and added that small amount to the cool water, no cracks or breaks.

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  133. Never thought of using baking soda. Thanks you guys might also want to try this..... I make my ice tea 12 tea bags to a 1 gallon pitcher. Do as here but instead of adding sugar I like that raspberry ice from crystal light. I put the container that makes 2 quarts in & add that instead.

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  134. Can't wait to try this. Thank you so much for posting this.

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  135. I will try this too, I never would have guessed the soda. I just learned how to make Southern sweet tea while in GA a few months back. Before that, I never like iced tea, especially Lipton or Earl Grey. But now that I know how to make it right I use Luzianne (iced tea) and was taught to use 4 tea bags to 1 gallon of water and 2 cups of sugar and thin sliced lemons (because I love lemons). Now I love iced tea and now add sprigs of mint leaves before pouring the boiled water. My neighbor is huge iced tea lover and she loves my tea, makes me feel kind a special I tell ya! LOL. Now I will try the soda and see how she likes it. Thank you for sharing the secret!

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  136. http://www.secretrecipes.com/recipe_categories/restaurants_a-to-z/restaurants_l/lone_star_steakhouse_restaurant/lone_star_steakhouse_saloon_texas_ranch_dressing.php it is probably just silly but never know

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  137. I think I might love you. I have had the most terrible time with iced tea and given up trying to make it. I hate that cloudly look and get so angry when I got to restaurants and see it look so pretty. But holy cow do you make it sweet! I can only stand 1 cup of sugar if that. Tooooo much sugar! I am so excited to try this. Thank you!

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  138. This sounds like a great idea...and when I worked in a resturaunt during my teenage years, we always added a little pinch of salt to our coffee when we brewed it. We always were complimented on our delicious coffee. I suppose it took the bitter out of it also. Thanks for the tip on te tea, I'll try that soon!

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  139. It works! Whether here in New York, or anywhere I have been in the south, I have yet to taste a "sweet tea" that didn't taste like brown sugar water. I make my own iced tea, but often it has an unpleasant bitterness. Your suggestion of baking soda piqued my interest so much so, that after reading this blog, I made this recipe. I happened to have a box of Luzianne tea bags on hand,too! I used five family sized bags, one cup of sugar, and the recommended baking soda quantity. The results were favorable- very smooth taste, but still a little weak in tea flavor (using five bags). Since I prefer a stronger tea-to-sugar taste ratio, I will up the amount to eight tea bags next time, and either the same amount of sugar, or a smidgen less. Now I am curious to try the baking soda in with my next pot of coffee. Interesting how a little tweak can make such an impact! Thanks! :)

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  140. The only problem with this recipe is the sugar. Use Stevia instead. Stevia is not a sugar substitute or chemical. It is a natural growing plant that provides a sweetness that tastes like sugar. Plus zero calories, zero fat, zero sodium. It's the perfect food. Also it dissolves instantly.

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  141. i use the icetea maker.then add to remaining distilled water jug.. suggestions on steps to help there

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  142. Tried this and it is great when I make it at home. Even the husband noticed and asked what I had done different. Question though--will the baking soda still do the trick with cold water? I make a jug of tea at the office but all a I have access to is cool water. (why the sink doesn't have a hot water hook up I don't know) So I just use cold-brew bags, not the best I know but better than nothing.

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  143. Take a large metal spoon and put in the glass container before adding the boiling water and pour slowly, the metal spoon will absorb a lot of the heat and keep the glass from breaking, I've done it for over 60 years.

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  144. This is a secret ingredient? I don't know any women who don't put a pinch of baking soda into their sweet tea.

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  145. well it is a secret ingredient to me and I am loving the idea....cabt wait to try it...

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  146. I had forgotten all about baking soda...I used to do it as a girl...my grandmother told me it drew all the tea from the leaves. We just got the water boiling, cut fire off and put in tea bags to steep. Then drained tea into a gallon jug filled about half way of cool water with sugar already added, then added more water to fill jug. Same difference I guess.

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  147. My Grandmother was from Texas and she made the best sweet tea! I live in the Pacific Northwest and and just used your recipie. My girlfriend says she loves it. Thanks, your recipie rcoks !!

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  148. Ok, never heard of baking soda in a tea cup, but if you say it's THAT GOOD, I'm gonna give it a try!

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  149. Mind if I copy and share this?

    Will be happy to give credit and link back.

    Also, since we are focusing on Crock Pot™ recipes
    this month, would love to offer any you might like
    to share.

    Thanks ...

    Art

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    Replies
    1. Sure thing Art!
      And you might wanna check out my perfect pot roast for the crock pot! It is awesome!

      Delete

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