Sweet Tea

Quench your thirst and partake in a classic South Carolina tradition all at the same time: Have a glass of Sweet Tea. After all, it is South Carolina’s Official Hospitality Beverage.
 
Tea was first planted in the United States in the Lowcountry outside of Charleston in 1799 at what is now Middleton Place. South Carolina is also the only state to have ever produced tea commercially. 
 
The direct descendants of those very plants have been restored to their former grandeur at the Charleston Tea Plantation. This lush, subtropical tea farm, owned by Bigelow Tea, is nestled on a serene sea island near the historic city of Charleston and is open Wednesdays through Sundays for free tours. This lush, subtropical tea farm, owned by Bigelow Tea, is nestled on a serene sea island near the historic city of Charleston and is open Wednesdays through Sundays for free tours.

Be sure to visit Summerville, the Birthplace of Sweet Tea, and explore the Sweet Tea Trail. There's something on this tour for everyone!

SWEET TEA RECIPE

Traditional Preparation

According to WhatsCookingAmerica.net, “When tea steeps, tannins (the natural compounds that color tea leaves) are released into the boiling water. The heat helps dissolve them, and the brew is clear enough to see through. Refrigeration can cause tannins to separate out again, turning the tea murky. Generally, higher-quality tea contains more tannins (because it is richer in solids) and is more likely to become cloudy.” 

To avoid making cloudy or murky tea: try using room temperature bottled or filtered water; only add ice cubes to the drinking glass and pour tea over the ice cubes; let tea cool at room temperature before refrigerating; to clear murky refrigerated tea, add a cup of boiling water.

 
INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 cups water
  • 8-10 regular-size tea bags
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups cold water
  • Ice cubes
 
PREPARATION:
Add sugar to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil; remove from heat.  Add tea bags, let steep 20-30 minutes and then remove tea bags.
 
In a large gallon pitcher, pour in the tea syrup and add cold water and stir until well mixed. Serve in tall glasses over ice - feel free to add a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon.

Yields 1 gallon.