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Classic Sweet Iced Tea in mason jars with lemon

Dad’s Classic Sweet Iced Tea

, by Amber Chase

People used to walk across the mall and stand in line for a “large sweet tea” from Natalie Keng's family restaurant. She describes how the recipe came about in her book, Egg Rolls and Sweet Tea, "It was my dad’s idea to pair egg rolls with his signature iced tea, freshly brewed in-house from premium loose black tea, then sweetened and brought to another level with a generous infusion of fresh-squeezed Georgia lemons."

Make it your own, adding more or less sugar and lemon.

Notes from Natalie Keng:

After the tea leaves and tea bag are steeped, they are no longer needed. To make extra tea, I usually add 1 cup of hot water to the leftover tea leaves and bag and steep for another 3 to 5 minutes. Steeping too long will cause bitterness. If the tea ends up bitter, try adding a dash of baking soda while it is still warm so the soda can fully dissolve before chilling. Strain and discard the used leaves and tea bag. Store this batch separately—do not add it to the first steep.

English breakfast tea is ideal, but any full-bodied black or red loose tea can be substituted. Tea bags can be used (1 tea bag per teaspoon of loose tea), although the result will not be as optimal as the distinct aromatic beverage that is rendered from fresh loose tea. Adding 1 or 2 additional high mountain oolong tea bags will add flavor (always cut off the strings and labels). Remove the bags after 4 minutes.

In a pinch, use 2 tablespoons of organic turbinado sugar per serving.

Reprinted with permission from Egg Rolls & Sweet Tea. Copyright © 2023 by Natalie Keng. Photos copyright © 2023 by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn. Excerpted by permission of Gibbs Smith.



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