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  • Sweet Tea

    28 posts, 19 voices, 3175 views, started Dec 30, 2008

    Posted on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 by Inakika

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    • Emerald
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      Sweet tea is a form of iced tea in which sugar or some other form of sweetener is added to the hot water before brewing, while brewing the tea, or post-brewing, but before the beverage is chilled and served. This especially sweet variation of tea enjoys most of its popularity in the Southern United States, though bottled iced teas labeled “Southern Style” or “Extra-sweet Southern Style” appear in refrigerated cases throughout the country.

      Most restaurants in the region, including fast-food and other national chains, offer a customer the choice of sweet tea or unsweetened iced tea. It is a signature drink of the region to the point where the Southern use of the word “tea” is largely used to refer specifically to cold sweet tea and not to hot or unsweetened varieties. In 2003, supposedly as an April Fool’s joke, the Georgia House introduced a bill making it a misdemeanor to sell iced tea in a restaurant that did not also offer sweet iced tea on the menu. The bill never went to a vote.

      An important part of the tradition of sweet tea in the South is the fact that it can be made in large quantities quickly and inexpensively. It is usually consumed daily as a staple drink. Because it is relatively cheap, some restaurants place a pitcher of sweet tea on the table for the entire dinner party to share and keep refilling it for free. Even when served in individual glasses, sweet tea refills are often provided free. While home cooks usually use tea bags to steep the tea, restaurants often make large quantities of sweet tea using large drip brew machines similar to those used for coffee.

      The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree, who was born in Texas. The recipe called for green tea. In fact, most sweet tea consumed during this period was green tea. However, during World War II, the major sources of green tea were cut off from the United States, leaving them with tea almost exclusively from British-controlled India which produced black tea. Americans came out of the war drinking predominantly black tea.



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          Jacquie6363 wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • Imagine that, I never knew that the sweetner was added before brewing..no wonder it is so good...



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          Cynthia Schmidt wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • I make sweet tea for my husband who lived in the south for thirteen years. It’s delicious and refreshing.



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          Inakika wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • I’ve always been fascinated with Sweet Tea, but it’s not my favorite way to drink tea. I like it hot. But you can’t go to any restaurant in the South without seeing it on the menu.



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          Tuliplady wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • Interesting history on tea.

          Here in the great frozen north we drink our tea with no sweetener and lots of ice.

          I worked as a waitress on and off for years.  Never fails, when the weather gets warm, we get folks from the south coming in asking, “Ya’ll got sweet tea?” And then they get this wounded confused look when we set a glass of tea down on the table and hand them the sugar packets.



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          Stacy Gandy wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • Living in Florida - I LOVE sweet tea!



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          Leeann wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • Has anyone ever had the shaken black tea at starbucks? It’s very different. I really like it.



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          Inakika wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • I will have to try that Leeann.
          Sewdiva, where in Florida do you live?
          Tuliplady, That’s too funny! estatic



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          Jacquie6363 wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • Leeann, never had it, must give it a try...



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          Vikki Hall wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • So I had dinner at my house on Sunday for some friends. They asked if I had any tea. Well of course I didn’t! I’m from the north and generally only have that in the summer. I did offer hot tea which I drink plenty.....

          Next time I will know!



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          Vikki Hall wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • Do you put the sugar in cold water before it brews?  

          I use the coffee maker usually and put the tea bags in the coffee strainer. Then I add the sugar to the brewed tea.



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          Karyn Olson wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • sounds interesting and delicious....will have to try making it that way next time....see if I can taste the difference...happy



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          Marie Hempsey wrote Dec 30, 2008
        • I will definitely be trying that. No wonder i can never seem to get it right...LOL
          Thanks for the tip!
          ~ Ree



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          Darla5 wrote Dec 31, 2008
        • Can you say A-d-d-i-c-t-i-o-n-...

          I love sweet tea. I do not drink coffee so this is my kick in the morning...

          I WILL NOT drink  unsweet tea. Yuck!!!!

          There is a hamburger chain here called Milo’s. They have a little bit of brown sugar in their tea. You can buy it in the grocery stores. You can not believe how fast it goes in the stores.

          I think it is CRACK for us Southern bells!!!



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          Leadinladytracy wrote Dec 31, 2008
        • I love sweet tea. When we go to SC and if we drive down I go to Bojangles and buy about 3 gallons of it to bring home. It is that good.

          I did not know how it was made, now that I know I’m making some today.



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          Kmarie wrote Dec 31, 2008
        • I have learned to like sweet tea. I am orginally from California and sweet tea was new to me, but I have to admit hat I prefer to use herbal tea over regular tea.



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          Mary Clark wrote Dec 31, 2008
        • I live in SC...and many natives of the south make sweet tea DAILY...it’s a staple.  

          Wife Saver  (a local chain restuarant that serves the best fried chicken...also has the best sweet tea.  I buy it by the gallon sometimes.  Gosh...I’m going to have to go get some today.)



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          Vikki Hall wrote Dec 31, 2008
        • McAllisters also makes sweet tea and I believe they are a chain. They are here in TN but also in MI. Which surprised me when I found them up there and they carried sweet tea.

          Of course Mickey D’s now carries sweet tea but whoa theirs is super sweet so I get mine half n half.



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          Tuliplady wrote Dec 31, 2008
        • I was still thinking about you southerners sweet tea and chuckling to myself when I went to bed last night. estatic

          Was also thinking about the wonderful diversity here.  Herbal, sweet, unsweetened, we‘re all accounted for.

          Last week I was hanging out with “the boys” at our local watering hole when a truck driver walked in and ordered sweet tea.  I’m sure by the time we got finished commenting on how bad we all hate sweet tea, he was wishing he’d just stopped at the convenience store.  Poor guy was outnumbered and he just sort of hunkered down in his chair and opened his sugar packets, one after another after another.



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          Darla5 wrote Dec 31, 2008
        • Joyful,

          Girl... It has been around as long as I have been in Birmingham . You will not believe the traffic around the place at lunch.  Everyday there is a cop that directs traffic in the place.

          This proves we are crazy about our food and sweet tea. I do not even fix tea anymore. I just buy this weekly. For Christmas   I had 3 gallons of it for our full house.  

          We are not that far away. You should come down one day and I will take you there. We are what two hours apart??? We will see what else is on their menu since you don’t eat burgers.

          From one crack girl to another... Happy New Years!!!



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          Charity M wrote Dec 31, 2008
        • I am fortunate that I developed a taste for unsweet tea a few years ago. Now, when I travel, I can drink iced tea unsweetened. To me, they are completely separate beverages. The problem with sugar packets is that they don’t dissolve properly in cold tea. That’s why it has to be added to hot water. A few years ago, I was on a camping/rafting trip in the Grand Canyon. When we stopped at Shadow Ranch the girl there managed to get me some sweet tea! We poured sugar into a bit of the hot water meant for hot tea and added it to the unsweetened iced tea. After 3 days of 110 degree heat, can you say HEAVEN?



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