Pitcher of iced tea with a glass and lemons

My grandma loved to drink tea. It seemed like she was always brewing a cup of Lipton tea. Even when it was hot, she didn’t drink iced tea; she preferred her hot brewed tea — with a little milk, no sugar. Grandma kept the used bag in a little tea bag holder shaped like a teapot until she was ready to put it in the milk carton by the sink for disposal. She might even save the bag to make a second cup when she didn’t mind a weaker cup of tea.

Mom wasn’t a fan of hot tea, but she loved iced tea in the summer. When she needed to stay hydrated for her health’s sake, she usually drank cranberry water, but for a change, she enjoyed fruit-flavored iced tea. Mango and peach were her favorite flavors.

I find tea to be less expensive and much healthier than sugar-laden soda. And it’s easy to customize tea to your tastes. There are lots of different teas (like green or herbal) and you can add as much or as little sweetener as you like. Lemons and herbs (like basil and mint) are tasty enhancements that I like to add to tea.

On these sunny summer days, I don’t even boil water to make iced tea. I just make sun tea and then add ice. It’s easy: Take a large jar, fill it with water, add a few tea bags, and place it by a sunny window. The bright sunlight provides all the energy to brew the tea. It’s perfect for iced tea as the water doesn’t boil so it cools down in less time. And you save energy!

I think that brewing tea (and composting the leaves) is way healthier and more eco-friendly than sugary drinks and sodas in plastic bottles. I’m cooling off with iced tea this summer!

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.