One thing I do know is tea. Like most Southerners, I consider myself a tea aficionado. Coffee is not the first thing I think of when I wake up. It tends to make me a little crazy. No, the first thing I reach for is my kettle. I wish I'd put in one of those handy dandy instant hot water features in my sink. Still, there is something soothing about hearing a kettle on the stove. My favorite morning tea is just plain old Lipton or even the Kroger, or Walmart brand. Sometimes I drink Earl Grey. My favorite "four o'clock watching Oprah" tea is Tazo Sweet Wild Orange. I'm having trouble finding that one in my local stores. I also like Bigelow Lemon Lift. But for the morning I don't need adventure--just tea. Now sweet ice tea is a whole other story. Sometimes I drink it unsweetened, but mostly I think "why bother?". If the sugar (or even diet sweetener) is not put in the tea while it's hot, it's just not the same. Most dedicated tea drinkers I know have specific pots and pitchers used only for making tea. After making tea for a while, no measuring is needed. You just boil water up to this line in the pot and add water up to that line in the pitcher--simple. Sometimes I add fresh mint from my back yard. Beloved doesn't like it--says the tea tastes like toothpaste. It's taken me years to master drive-thru tea. I'm not much a fast food fan, so all I usually order is sweet tea. McDonalds, for example, has made vast improvements lately. Backyard Burger has the best in my opinion and don't even consider it at Taco Bell. Denise from the KoffordsinColorado blog is a native Californian living in Colorado. She was wondering about (and it sounded almost like a yearning) a recipe for sweet tea. So, not really having one, I measured as I made it last time. Here is the way we make it at our house.
4 regular size tea bags
9 cups water, divided
1/2-1 cup sugar or 2/3- 1 cup Splenda
Boil 4 cups of water with 4 teabags for one minute. Remove from heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add your sugar or artificial sweetener while the tea is still hot. Add 5 cups cold water. You can add the sugar or sweetener later, but I won't vouch for the results. It just won't be the same. The tea in its pitcher is best left unrefrigerated. Sometimes it gets a little cloudy in the refrigerator. Serve with anything or nothing at all and enjoy!