Sweet tea is a popular summertime refreshment that is frequently served at barbecues, picnics, and other outdoor gatherings. It is typically prepared with a high sugar-to-tea ratio, which imparts a sweet and revitalizing flavor. People love it over iced tea, as it has a sweet taste. Surely, we love to drink cold sweet tea, but can we drink it warm? Does sweet tea need to be refrigerated?
Actually, there is no harm in drinking sweet tea warm, but most people like it cold. Therefore, after preparing it, it should be drunk hot and should not be left outside for hours. If you intend to consume the tea within a few hours, leaving it out on the counter is acceptable, but refrigeration is recommended for longer storage.
Let’s get to know more about Sweet Tea and how to store it.
What Is Sweet Tea?
Sweet tea is a popular variety of cold tea in the southern United States. It is prepared by steeping tea leaves (typically black tea) in boiling water, then adding sugar to produce a sweet flavor while the tea is still hot. Afterward, the tea is cooled and served over ice. Some people also flavor their sweet tea with citrus or other flavors.
Sweet tea is a popular summertime refreshment that is frequently served at barbecues, picnics, and other outdoor gatherings.
It is often produced with a high sugar-to-tea ratio, giving it a sweet and refreshing flavor. Sweet tea, on the other hand, can be heavy in calories and sugar; therefore, it should be taken in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Does Sweet Tea Need to Be Refrigerated?
If you want to consume it hot, then no problem, you can drink it. There is no issue with it. However, if you want to keep sweet tea for more than a few hours, you should refrigerate it. After the tea has chilled to ambient temperature, it should be refrigerated in an airtight container. This will prevent the development of microorganisms that can cause the tea to spoil and become hazardous to consume.
If you expect to consume the tea within a few hours, leave it out on the counter, but refrigeration is suggested for longer storage. If you’re creating a large quantity of sweet tea and don’t have room in your fridge for a large container, divide the tea into smaller containers and keep them in the refrigerator.
How Long Does Sweet Tea Last Unrefrigerated?
After steeping and sweetening the tea, it should be cooled to room temperature within two hours. Leaving sweet tea unrefrigerated for longer than this can result in bacterial growth, making the tea hazardous for consumption.
Bacteria can grow swiftly in sweet tea, particularly in warm or humid conditions. It is, therefore, prudent to refrigerate sweet tea as soon as feasible after brewing and sweetening.
Unrefrigerated sweet tea that has been left out for more than a few hours should be discarded to avoid the risk of infectious illness. However, when it comes to food safety, it is always preferable to err on the side of caution than regret.
What Are The Signs Of Bad Sweet Tea?
There are numerous indications that sweet tea has gone rancid or become hazardous to consume. Here are some items to keep an eye out for:
- Cloudiness: If the tea appears turbid or watery, it may have begun to deteriorate.
- Mold or unusual growths: If you see mold or odd growths on the surface of the tea or surrounding the container, this is a strong indication that the tea has gone bad and should be thrown.
- Off smell: If the tea has a sour, musty, or otherwise unpleasant scent, it may have rotted or gotten infected with germs.
- Off taste: If the tea tastes sour, bitter, or otherwise odd, it is possible that it has gone bad. If you discover an odd taste or flavor, proceed with care and dump the tea.
- Excessive fermentation: When sweet tea is left out for too long, it can ferment and develop a sour, alcoholic flavor. While this does not necessarily make the tea hazardous to drink, it may make it unpleasant.
To avoid the risk of foodborne disease, dump the sweet tea if you observe any of these indicators.
What Is The Difference Between Sweet Tea And Iced Tea?
Sweet tea and iced tea are comparable in that they are both chilled teas served over ice. However, the primary distinction between the two beverages is that sweet tea contains sugar or another sweetener, whereas iced tea is typically unadulterated.
Iced tea is commonly prepared by steeping tea bags in boiling water and then allowing the tea to cool before pouring it over ice. Some individuals like to flavor their iced tea with lemon or other flavors, but it is normally served without any additional sugar or sweeteners.
Sweet tea, on the other hand, is produced by combining hot tea with sugar or another sweetener before chilling and serving over ice. The amount of sugar added to sweet tea varies, although it is normally much more than that used in iced tea.
This was all about does sweet tea need to be refrigerated. If you wish to store sweet tea for longer than a few hours, refrigerate it. This will prevent the growth of microorganisms that could cause the tea to deteriorate and become unsafe to ingest. So next time you have excess sweet tea, refrigerate it as soon as possible.
We hope you found this article helpful & informative. Thank you for reading!