For decades, perhaps over a century, Americans have been making sun tea.  For some people, it is the only way they experience tea at all.  So frequent are customer questions about sun tea during the summer that I have developed a sun tea training guide for my team.  And mind you, we don’t make a drop of the tasty stuff.

Sun tea is fun, and for some, a true passion.  I count myself passionate about the passions of the good people who walk through our doors.

In my work, I have long noticed that for many people tea is a sometime thing.  It is entwined deeply in social and seasonal traditions, sources of tremendous strength.  But they are limiting factors as well, and so I attempt to nudge tea drinkers toward a broader appreciation – to make sun tea drinkers into plain old everyday tea drinkers.  A humble, but worthwhile, mission.

As far as I can tell, there are only two honest disadvantages to solar-powered tea – time and, well…sun.  I figure my sun tea fans are already a patient bunch, but try as they may, they cannot bend its radiant power to their whim.  For the unfortunate majority of us who live in colder, cloudier climes, this means that sun tea season is just that…a season.

But if we can have asparagus at Thanksgiving dinner – a most improbable option – why should we not have the sweet satisfaction of slow-brewed tea in the very doldrums of winter?

For many years, I have been a fervent cold brewer.  Armed with little more than a few Hario and Bodum glass teapots, I have been tinkering 52 weeks a year.  I even made Christmas iced tea.  While cold brew is likely no news to you, my dear reader, it is a revelation to many others.

Could cold brew inspire sun tea enthusiasts to dust off their pitchers?

Before I could convince sun tea lovers to add cold brewing to their repertoire, I had to ask the obvious question: Will people drink cold tea in the winter?

Absolutely.

Put a pitcher of cold brew tea in your fridge and try to resist it when you go for glass of water.  And it’s work friendly too, warming up to room temperature at your desk.  Throw in the fact that it is a convenient way to meet tea-drinking resolutions and that studies point to lower caffeine levels resulting from cold brewing when compared with conventional hot steeping, and you get people listening.

I like Robert Wemischner’s recommendation from last summer – 2.5 grams of tea for each six ounces.  And he is on target again when he suggests using the good stuff – you will see a new side to some of your old favorites, some of which can be steeped a second time to great effect.  On that note, it’s about time I put another batch of Darjeeling White tea in the fridge.  See you next month!

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