Chris O’Kelley

Chris O’Kelley

Sweet tea has many nicknames. The Champagne of the South, Sugar Water, Carolina Kool-Aid. No matter what you call it, you have an opinion on what is good sweet tea! There was a time when the ingredients used to make sweet tea were very expensive. It would have been a luxury and it was only brought out when company or very important people came to visit.  The 3 main ingredients, tea, sugar, and ice had to be shipped.  Who has the best sweet tea? We asked and you told us who you thought had it.

Ones That Didn’t Make The List But Still Have Great Tea

We had a lot of places voted to have the best tea but here are some that didn’t make the list

  • Fatman’s
  • Most every Mexican restaurant in Augusta & Aiken
  • Road Runner
  • Publix Deli
  • Sno-Cap
  • Old McDonald Fish Camp
  • Sonic
  • Hoagie Joes

History of Sweet Tea

So how did sweet tea get started?  According to Royal Cup Coffee & Tea, its history goes back as far as 1879.  The tea made back in 1879 was found in a cookbook titled, “Housekeeping in Old Virginia” created by Marion Cabell Tyree. The original recipe used green tea.  In the first recipe, Marion Cabell Tyree was looking for a way to flavor the tea.   With a few different things tried, sugar and lemon were the winners.

Green Tea was the only tea we had in America so it was used to make tea.  Once black tea was being imported to America sweet tea changed and it was mainly because the price of black tea was much cheaper.

So How Do I Make My Sweet Tea?

Mine is simple.  8 small Luzianne tea bags.  Put the tea bags into a cold pot of water and turn on the heat.  Once it comes to a boil, it’s ready.  While waiting for your tea bags to reach boiling status, you put two cups of pure cane sugar into a pitcher.  Then as you are pouring the pot of tea into the pitcher, use a spoon to squeeze the bags against the pot to get all the goodness out.  Then fill the pitcher the rest of the way up with cold water.  Place in the refrigerator and let it get cold.

To me, there are a few things you can’t do to sweet tea.  Once it’s made, you can’t add sugar to it to make it sweet.  No little sugar packets will make it sweet.  You also do not put ice in a cup and drink it immediately.  It must have a cooling period.

People have put their own touch to making tea.  You have the ones who like to put the tea bags in a pitcher and let the sun do the work.  People use baking soda in their recipe.  The one thing that I have learned, there is no right or wrong way to make sweet tea.  The right way is your way.  There are a few things that can go wrong when it comes to sweet tea.  You can boil it too long and the bag will bust and the leaves get in the tea and you can also let it sit too long and it gets old.

Other than that, it’s all good.  So now let’s see who you voted that has the best sweet tea!

  • #7-Wife Saver

    Wife Saver as you know is in its 3rd generation of being a locally owned and operated restaurant in the CSRA!  When asked about sweet tea, I knew that Wife Saver would be in the finals.  To me, I think it’s the best sweet tea in all of our area.  The tea itself is so good, but I think it’s the Styrofoam up that makes the difference as well.  I’ve had take-out situations and you pour into a glass and it’s still good, but the cup makes the difference.

  • #6-Dunkin'

    I will admit to you, I didn’t know that Dunkin’ served tea much less that it was so popular.  When I think of Dunkin’, of course I think of the yummy doughnuts and all of the different coffee drinks they make.  The next time I make it into Dunkin’ I’m getting a sweet tea to try.  Dunkin’ even makes K-Cups.  I will add this to my list of sweet teas to try.

  • #5-Zaxby's

    The Zaxby’s sweet tea is on point.  Lets be honest, it’s the ice.  simple as that. I know people say Sonic has the best Ice, Nope Zaxby’s.  There is nothing better with a chicken finger plate, French Fries, Cole Slaw and big ol’ Zaxby’s sweet tea.  This is another one of the places I’ll stop to just get a sweet tea.  Why, it’s that good!

  • #4-Sconyers

    This October will mark 20 years that I’ve lived in Augusta.  I’ll never forget my first trip to Sconyers.  I fell in love with everything about it.  The one thing that stood out was they brought you your own pitcher of tea.  Then once I tried it, I knew I was going to love Sconyers.  With all the votes they received, you can see why President Carter wanted to have it in the White House.

    Sconyers An Augusta Tradition Like No Other

  • #3-McAlisters Deli

    Now fast food restaurants scored pretty high on this list and for a good reason.  You have to keep in mind that they use the same recipe at hundreds of restaurants across the country and in some cases the world.  When you get a large drink from McAlister’s to go, it’s a big cup so a sweet tea will last awhile.  I’ve never had the sweet tea at McAlister’s Deli but I will have to add it to the list of places I need to try.

  • #2-Chick-Fil-A

    Chick-fil-A has great tea.  Just plain and simple, it’s good.  The thing that makes it one of the best and number two on this list to me is for one reason.  The ICE. I know people and I am one of the people, who love Zaxby’s ice, but I think Chick-fil-A may top them.  The sweet tea with a #1 classic combo is an unbeatable combination at Chick-fil-A.  It’s one of the few places that I’ll go to just to get tea!

  • #1-McDonald's

    In at number one and voted on by you, is McDonald’s!  McDonald’s is on top of their game in a lot of areas.  They are the largest fast food chain in the world and to be so good in many areas it takes a lot of work and systems.  Their sweet tea is the one area where they have it down to perfection.  You can not go to a McDonald’s and not get the same tea everywhere.  It’s probably the one area they are perfect in.  I can see why McDonald’s sweet tea is your number one!

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