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There are only a couple days left of summer and it was a lovely, warm weekend, and just because school has started doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy some of the tastes of summer. What about some sun tea?

It’s a simple, old-fashioned way to make tea using the sun as the source of heat. With the exception of pu’erh tea, you can use any herbs or types of tea, but black is probably the most effective. Place your tea bags or leaves in a clean jar and simply place it in a sunny spot – inside or outside – where it will remain in the sun for 1-4 hours. Strain or remove bags and store it in another container. Once it’s steeped, add ice and/or sweetener.

But with so many good things, there is a serious disadvantage to sun tea, and I’m not talking about having to wait for it. According to the CDC, harmful bacteria can grow in your sun tea and make you sick! That’s because the heat of the sun simply can’t compete with your kettle. While your tea will be nicely warmed, kind of like a warm bath, it won’t get hot enough to kill bacteria found in the water, tea or even in your container. Water needs to be heated to 195° for three to five minutes to kill the nasties. Caffeine in tea will provide a small barrier to the growth of bacteria, but only for the first 1-2 hours.

My recommendation? Pretend. Make iced tea with a hot or cold brew and sip it in the sun! Enjoy those last days of summer!

There is a time in the last few days of summer when the ripeness of autumn fills the air.

Rudolfo Anaya

Happy Monday!