Sweet Tea

Sweet Tea

This sweet tea toes the line between just right and puckery sweet. The formula reflects the way my grandmother Leona Johnson made sweet tea: strong tea, lots of lemon juice and even more sugar. Start by adding half a cup of sugar to the batch, then add up to 4 more tablespoons to your preference. By making it extra potent, tart and sweet, this brew still tastes good even after the ice starts to melt.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 8 persons



  1. Step 1

    In a tea kettle or medium saucepan, heat 4 cups water until boiling. Remove from the heat and add the tea bags. Allow the tea to steep for 5 minutes. Gently squeeze the bags to release their concentrated tea, then discard the bags. Transfer the tea to a pitcher.
  2. Step 2

    Stir 1/2 cup sugar into the hot tea until it has dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice. Add 4 cups water, then fill the pitcher with 2 cups ice.
  3. Step 3

    Taste the tea to determine if you’d like to add up to 4 tablespoons more sugar. If adding sugar, stir until it dissolves.
  4. Step 4

    Cover and refrigerate until the sweet tea is chilled throughout or up to 2 days. Serve in a large glass filled with ice, and garnish with a lemon slice if you’d like.