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Old 02-23-2013, 12:08 PM   #61
OceanAnnie
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I love sweet tea! But I do love it more with a little less. I do think the key is to sugar the tea while it is hot so it dissolves well. If I'm out, I usually ask for half unsweet and half sweet just to cut down on the sugar (when I do order it). Otherwise I just drink water.

I always had misgivings when I went to a restaurant and they didn't get the sweet tea right. If the tea isn't right and fresh (ever had tea that is stale? Yech! ) then how in the world can they get the food right?
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Old 02-23-2013, 01:51 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by sandramaac
Traditional 'sweet tea' is just that because it is made with a simple syrup. Begin with dissolving one cup of sugar in one cup of water. Bring to a boil on the stove, and once it comes to a good rolling boil, let go for at least a good minute or two. The boil is important! Once the simple syrup is made, it is important to let in cool before you add it to your tea. In fact, I will pop it in frig for an hour or so. I usually make a double batch. Once it is cooled it will be thick, and a bit viscous, like a very thin syrup. This process actually make the sugar taste sweeter. It is yummy.

Now brew your favorite tea, just being careful not let over steep the tea--it will be bitter. Now cool this tea also. This is important. Now add the simple syrup to tea, bringing it the desired sweetness. Add a few thin slice of lemon, don't squeeze them into the tea, just float the slice. Refigerate for a few hours and viola, traditional sweet tea.

You can also make flavored simple syrups such as mint and orange. Just prior to boiling the dissolved sugar mixture, add mint leaves or orange peel (peel from at least two navel oranges). Bring to boil, cool with the mint or peel, then strain prior to adding the syrup to the tea. I also like the put the syrups in decanters (the tall/skinny clear glass olive oil decanters you see work great for this since they have that long narrow spout) and let everyone add their own sugar syrup to the tea.

Hope this helps!!
No Southerner that I know uses simple syrup to make tea. Everyone I know makes tea the same way.
Boil water.
Add tea bags.
Steep until dark.
1-2c/gal sugar into the pitcher.
Pour hot tea over sugar.
Stir.
Add cold water to fill pitcher.
Stir again.
Refrigerate.
Serve over ice & enjoy.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:01 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by sandramaac View Post
Traditional 'sweet tea' is just that because it is made with a simple syrup.
I know little of sweet tea, and hate it, but many of my southern friends say sweet tea is never made with sugar. You always start with simple syrup or corn syrup. We ate at some allegedly famous small family style restaurant in Savannah (the kind were you walk in and all the food is already on the table, everyone passes it around, no waitresses) and they were famous for their sweet tea, and they credited using corn syrup for making it so good. It also may be the reason their tea is about as thick as cream! Or as my friend from Nashville puts it "good sweet tea just isn't sweet, it has body to it"
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:13 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by tvguy

I know little of sweet tea, and hate it, but many of my southern friends say sweet tea is never made with sugar. You always start with simple syrup or corn syrup. We ate at some allegedly famous small family style restaurant in Savannah (the kind were you walk in and all the food is already on the table, everyone passes it around, no waitresses) and they were famous for their sweet tea, and they credited using corn syrup for making it so good. It also may be the reason their tea is about as thick as cream! Or as my friend from Nashville puts it "good sweet tea just isn't sweet, it has body to it"
Perhaps that's a regional difference. Sweet tea in the DEEP South is made with granulated sugar. Sugar used to be ridiculously cheap.
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Old 02-23-2013, 02:22 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by tvguy View Post
I know little of sweet tea, and hate it, but many of my southern friends say sweet tea is never made with sugar. You always start with simple syrup or corn syrup. We ate at some allegedly famous small family style restaurant in Savannah (the kind were you walk in and all the food is already on the table, everyone passes it around, no waitresses) and they were famous for their sweet tea, and they credited using corn syrup for making it so good. It also may be the reason their tea is about as thick as cream! Or as my friend from Nashville puts it "good sweet tea just isn't sweet, it has body to it"
I'm sorry but that does not even sound good.

I've used both sugar and simple syrup. But I grew up using sugar, for sure.
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Old 02-23-2013, 03:01 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by dansamy View Post
Perhaps that's a regional difference. Sweet tea in the DEEP South is made with granulated sugar. Sugar used to be ridiculously cheap.
It must be.

I never even heard of any kind of syrup in sweet tea. Just granulated sugar dissolved in hot tea.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:35 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by OceanAnnie View Post
It must be.

I never even heard of any kind of syrup in sweet tea. Just granulated sugar dissolved in hot tea.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:42 PM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dansamy View Post
No Southerner that I know uses simple syrup to make tea. Everyone I know makes tea the same way.
Boil water.
Add tea bags.
Steep until dark.
1-2c/gal sugar into the pitcher.
Pour hot tea over sugar.
Stir.
Add cold water to fill pitcher.
Stir again.
Refrigerate.
Serve over ice & enjoy.
That's the way we've always made it. I've never heard of using a simple syrup, either.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:50 PM   #69
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Originally Posted by HsvTeacher

That's the way we've always made it. I've never heard of using a simple syrup, either.
Sounds like this calls for a poll. I can't post one since I'm on my phone.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:15 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by HsvTeacher View Post
That's the way we've always made it. I've never heard of using a simple syrup, either.
This is a recipe from an 1839 cookbook I found after Googling it.
Guess it used to have cream and wine in it too.

"Make a pint and a half of very strong tea in the usual manner; strain it, and pour it boiling (hot) on one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar. (That's 2 1/2 cups white sugar) Add half a pint of rich sweet cream, and then stir in gradually a bottle of claret or of champaign (sic). You may heat it to the boiling point, and serve it so, or you may send it round entirely cold, in glass cups"
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:58 PM   #71
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I am a bit heretical b/c I like my sweet tea far less sweet than I associate with traditional. I usually have to ask for half-sweet and half-unsweet. At home, I make it plain b/c DH likes it plain and is diabetic. So I keep a dispenser of homemade simple syrup in the fridge. I do think it tastes better when sugar is added to the hot tea, but oh well! We do what we have to. Although, another plus is that if someone visits, they can sweeten it to their liking or use sweet & low if they have dietary issues.

One thing I don't like is weak tea, and I associate it with chain restaurants and people who are new to sweet tea. Why bother if it tastes like water? But on the flip side, a lot of people make the mistake of thinking the way to get dark/strong tea is to brew longer. Like PP's have said, all that does is make it more bitter. I never brew beyond 5 minutes (always Luzianne ), but I usually use 1-2 more bags than, for instance, the Luzianne instructions.

Now another way I'm a bad bad girl is that when I need to make 4 qts (but only have my little 2 qt pan for boiling), I make it double strength and then add it to ice water in the pitcher. It cools it fast and it tastes the same. Except my grandmother would roll over in her grave b/c adding hot tea to cold water/ice tends to make it cloudy. The horror! Oh well, I'm obviously not standing on formality when I'm serving it in my 4 qt tupperware jug

Last edited by branv; 02-23-2013 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:38 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by dizcrazee View Post
This is how I make mine too, except that I use 4 family size bags. Also, I add a little water from the tap to the sugar in the pitcher before I add my tea from the pan because if the tea is too hot, it can carmelize the sugar. I generally use Splenda instead of sugar now and it's pretty good too.

I never thought about the fact that people from other parts of the country outside of the South might not know how to make iced sweet tea. Wow - strange!
Well, it's been fun to see how everyone makes sweet tea so differently! And, I grew up in New Jersey and my mother always made sweet tea and taught us how to make it as well!

Enjoy your tea! Karen
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:11 AM   #73
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Well, it's been fun to see how everyone makes sweet tea so differently! And, I grew up in New Jersey and my mother always made sweet tea and taught us how to make it as well!

Enjoy your tea! Karen
I never realized there could be over a hundred ways to make sweet tea. My family always did the brew half and add water to fill the pitcher. I tend to like a stronger/darker tea, so I boil 2qts of water. Sugar only dissolves in hot tea, so it has to be stirred in before any water is added that would cool it down.

Fresh hot tea poured over a glass full of ice is amazing.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:05 AM   #74
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Fresh hot tea poured over a glass full of ice is amazing.
Yes it is!
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:40 AM   #75
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I know little of sweet tea, and hate it, but many of my southern friends say sweet tea is never made with sugar. You always start with simple syrup or corn syrup. We ate at some allegedly famous small family style restaurant in Savannah (the kind were you walk in and all the food is already on the table, everyone passes it around, no waitresses) and they were famous for their sweet tea, and they credited using corn syrup for making it so good. It also may be the reason their tea is about as thick as cream! Or as my friend from Nashville puts it "good sweet tea just isn't sweet, it has body to it"
Have lived in the South most of my life and no one I know or knew has ever used corn syrup to make sweet tea. All I can think of is Karo syrup in tea which is making me queasy. They've only used granulated sugar.

When I need a sweet tea fix, I go to McDonald's and get a large sweet tea with no ice. It will last the day because it's so large. Each restaurant's tea is a little different. Some needs water to cut the sweetness. Luckily for me, the McD closest has tea that is perfectly suited to my taste. Their sweet tea is the only fast food item I'll consume.
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