How to Make Farmer's Tea


I’m known for my tea. My teenage sister and her friends call it “Flower Tea” or “Fruit Loop Tea” and they’re right! I use one bag of Earl Grey with four bags of “normal” tea – that one bag infuses this steeped staple of the South with a bouquet of floral and fruit essence thus complementing an array of culinary delights! Tea, like wine and coffee, herald their flavors as mementos from the regions they were grown. Earl Grey is natural black tea with oil of Bergamot, which is oil derived from the Bergamot Orange, thus giving the fruity/floral hint my sister always mentions. ( I love tea and all the accoutrements that are associated with the drink, but one in particular is my favorite – sugar. I make a simple syrup for my iced tea and then mix the steeped tea with the syrup and some water. Tea should be steeped for a few minutes (5-6 max) and then mixed with the sugar solution and served over ice. Mint, limes, and lemons are great garnishes and add additional depth to the flavor…I prefer lime or sweet lemons like Meyer’s. I also infuse this tea with Rosemary during the Fall and Winter months. I love the “pine-like” flavor of Rosemary and find it appropriate for said seasons. A few stalks of Rosemary in the simple syrup will infuse the tea with a degree of the herb that is just wonderful and refreshing. For a stronger flavor of Rosemary, I add it to the boiling water and tea bags. Here is my recipe for “Farmer’s Tea…” I don’t measure thus the ranges in ingredients! This makes about two pitchers of tea or approximately 1 gallon of tea.

Farmer's Tea

  • Bring 6-7 cups of water to a rolling boil.
  • Add 4 bags of Lipton (or whatever brand you prefer) and 1 bag of Earl Grey (Bigelow) and remove from heat.
  • Let the tea bags steep for about five minutes near the warm eye of the stove.
  • Add 1-1½ cups of sugar to about 2-3 cups of water (I use a 1 to 2 ratio) and dissolve the sugar in the water over a medium low heat…remove immediately from heat once the sugar has dissolved and has become a somewhat clear syrup. If you bring it to a boil, you’ll have the makings for candy and not tea!
  • Combine the steeped tea and simple syrup into a large pitcher or split between two half gallon pitchers. If you’re using a glass pitcher, be sure to have a metal knife or spoon to pour the tea over so the hot liquid won’t bust the glass…
  • Fill the pot with the tea bags in it one more time with water and add it to the pitcher…you can add a bit more water if need be. Stir with a large knife or spoon. This should provide you with about 16 cups of tea or 1 US Gallon.
  • Serve over ice (remember tea continues to steep or “get stronger” as it sits, so it’s weakest once it’s first made) and with wedges of lime. Enjoy!