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Cool Off with Homemade Naturally Sweet Tea


Most store-bought sweetened iced teas are full of it — high fructose corn syrup, that is — and the ‘light’ versions are loaded with artificial sweeteners.

Instead, make your own cool, delicious sweetened tea with natural ingredients and you’ll reap all of the antioxidant health benefits while keeping unnessary bottles out of the landfill; you’ll also save money!

We sweeten our iced tea with organic agave nectar, a mild-flavored, all-natural sweetener that is harvested from wild agave plants; it has a low glycemic index, but is 1.4 times sweeter than refined sugar.

It’s one of our favorite cool drinks, along with red currant honey iced tea and iced coffee.

Here’s the simple recipe:

Iced Citrus Tea with Agave and Mint

2 quarts cold water (2 quarts = 8 cups)

6 to 8 tea bags – your choice (I’m partial to organic Earl Grey, myself)

1 large handful fresh mint leaves, washed

3 – 4 tablespoons agave nectar

2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice

the juice of one large orange

optional garnish: mint sprigs and lemon slices or wedges

If the tea bags have tags, remove them; if they have strings, tie them all together to make removing the tea bags easier. Heat the water to a full rolling boil in a large saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags and fresh mint. Allow to steep for 30 minutes.

Strain the mixture and add the agave nectar, lemon and orange juices; stir until combined. Cool to room temperature, pour in an airtight container and refrigerate. 

Serve the tea over ice and garnish with mint sprigs and lemon if you wish; the tea will keep in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

By the way, I know that making sun tea – combining tea and water in a glass jar and leaving it outdoors – is a popular way to make iced tea, but when I was researching an article about cooking with the sun I learned that the practice can be potentially dangerous.

Using the sun’s rays to make tea can facilitate the growth of bacteria so it’s best to use the old tried-and-true boiling water method.

P.S. The Best Gingersnaps on the Planet go really well with this sweet tea!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites, 101 Things To Do With Bacon, and BERRIES. She enjoys sharing ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, and home projects. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

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4 thoughts on “Cool Off with Homemade Naturally Sweet Tea”

  1. Hi,

    Might I suggest trying Zevia. Zevia is the first All Natural, 0 Calorie, Stevia sweetened soda in the world! No Aspartame & No Splenda! Six delicious flavors including Cola, Orange, Twist, Ginger Root Beet, Ginger Ale and Black Cherry. I think Zevia might fit in very well with your sound advice for reader to stop using artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. If yo uwould like to try and potentially review zevia please email l me at ian at zevia dot com and I will gladly send you samples.


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  3. It’s refreshing. I like the sweet tea when I feel thirst during summer season. Tea is magical to me. I really appreciate what I have now because of tea.

  4. hi there,
    for an even more minty splash use mint tea bags and also make ice cubes from the tea so as not to loose any flavour as ice melts in your tall refreshing glass of iced tea. make a mint party out of it all by serving lamb with mint,mint in a salad, mint ice cream and mint filled cookies. ok so i’ve gone over the top with the mint but you get the idea….


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