A few things to consider as we head into warmer weather and break out the iced tea!
As spring has sprung, and summer approaches, I thought I would talk about everyone’s favorite homemade iced tea, sun tea. Is it safe to drink? Is it easy to brew? How long will it last? In today's blog, I'll try to answer all of these questions.
Making sun tea is a popular brewing method many people use at home. I remember my Dad doing this when I was a kid all summer long. But is it safe to drink? When tea is brewed or steeped, the water temperature is normally around 170 degrees. When you make sun tea, that water is normally around 102 degrees. That’s a big difference. But what does that mean? According to the science, it’s not a great idea to ingest sun tea as if sun tea gets a thick or syrupy appearance, it’s because of the presence of Alcaligenes viscolactis, a stringy, rope-like bacterium. These bacteria are commonly in soil and water and should not be digested.
So, what do you do? This is a method many people use to brew tea for themselves. But how do you stay safe and not make yourself sick?
Use a thoroughly cleaned and sanitized container.
Opt for distilled water or boiled which would have killed any bacteria.
Leave it out for up to 4 hours maximum.
Strain and refrigerate immediately.
Consume same day
Alternatively, there is the cold brew option which is where you take your tea to the refrigerator to brew instead of letting it brew outside under a hot sun. It’s basically the same except that it’s best to let it chill overnight or double time, about 8 to 12 hours. Both cold brew tea and sun tea are smoother, more complex and slightly sweeter since these don’t release tannins and their bitterness, as is the case when using boiled water.
If you are a restauranteur, you know that this popular beverage has a dirty little secret. All teas are prone to bacteria when not properly maintained. When visiting your favorite restaurant or convenience store, do you take note of the stainless steel urn that your iced tea is dispensed from? Did you know that when a liner is not used in these urns, daily cleanings that include full disassembly of the spigot is needed to thoroughly clean the urn and faucet? It's a tedious job, but without it, harmful bacteria grows. This can result in poor taste, and possibly as far as foodborne illness. Why take that risk?
Fortunately, foodservice operations that use Saftea® Liner dramatically reduce the risk of harmful bacteria from forming. Saftea® Liners were designed to specifically fit inside these commercial tea urns to fully line the interior, and the integrated tube feeds through the spigot so that the tea never comes in direct contact with the dispenser. By changing the liner every 24 hours, bacteria does not have an opportunity to become a host in the tea urns. The result is not only a better tasting beverage, free from contaminants and cleaning chemical residue, but also a safer, more hygienic drink.
To learn more about Saftea® Liner and how it can help you achieve superior sanitation for your valued patrons, visit our website. Available in 150-count cases, Saftea® Liner is also available to purchase online!