Canning Tea Concentrate

When I first mentioned canning Tea Concentrate to my husband he thought I was crazy.  I laughed, I may be crazy, but canning tea concentrate is not the reason….lol.  We do a lot of entertaining and it never fails, I either fix too much tea or not enough.  Having tea on demand – now we’re talking!

I make tea in a one gallon jug, so when I make concentrate it needs to make one gallon when I am done. I used the exact recipe that I always use, except instead of making it in a one gallon jug I would make it in a quart sized canning jar instead. Then all I need to do when I want tea is add the contents of the quart jar to my usual gallon jug and top it off with 3 quart jars of water to make a full gallon.

I made 2 different kinds:  Sweet, as in sweetened with sugar and our version of Unsweet which is actually the Lipton’s Southern Sweet Tea blend.

My Recipe: (Per quart jar)

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 family-sized tea bag or 4 regular-sized bags
  • Hot water

NOTE:  If you’re using gallon size tea bags, use wide mouth jars to allow room to easily remove the bags at the end (you’ll thank me later).


I measured out the sugar for a full gallon of tea and poured it into each sterile quart jar. My boys like their tea sweet, not as sweet as McD’s, but still sweet enough!  I know it looks like a lot of sugar, but that is 1 1/2 cup in each quart; which is what we use for a full gallon of tea.

We have our sugar poured into each jar. We have our tea bags ready and waiting.   We use 4 bags per gallon, so I have 4 bags tied together to place in each jar.  Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  The water needs to be hot in order to steep the tea properly. Once the water is nice and hot, it’s time to fill the jars 2/3 of the way full.  This will leave room to add the tea bags.


Stir the water to dissolve the sugar and then add the tea bags to each jar. Once the bags are down inside the jars, I top off each jar with a little more hot water and give the bags a push with the spoon to sink them down a little farther inside the jar.  I would walk by and stir the jars every 5 minutes or so.  You can place a lid on top of each jar to allow the brew to steep.  I let mine sit for 20 minutes, we like a brisk tea.

After about 20 minutes I begin removing the bags from the jars. I give each bag a gentle squeeze to extract as much liquid as I can.  Be care to not tear any tea bags.


Once all of the bags are removed, fill the jars up with hot water leaving 1″ head space.

Once filled, wiped the rim of each jar with a clean sterile cloth and adjust the hot lids and bands, getting it ready for processing.

Waterbath for 10 minutes.  Once the jars are placed in the pot, cover the jars with 2 inches of water.  Tea has a great deal of acid so there is no need to pressure can it.  Bring the water to a full boil with the lid on the pot and boil for 10 minutes.  Once it’s turned off and cooled, remove the jars and place on a towel on the counter.  Listen for the sweet “ping”!  We allow our jars to sit for 24 hours before moving.

Entertaining will never be the same…..


14 thoughts on “Canning Tea Concentrate

  1. Buster's Mom February 7, 2018 at 10:39 am Reply

    Am I correct in thinking for the Southern Sweet Tea version that you did everything the same but omitted the sugar?


  2. Buster's Mom February 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm Reply

    Thank you!


  3. Deidre Sowerby May 20, 2018 at 10:25 am Reply

    I have canned my elderberry tea this way as a concentrate to sleays have for flu and cold season.


    • Preserving the Good Life May 21, 2018 at 12:06 pm Reply

      My sister and I hope to can some Elderberry Syrup this year for the same reason – cold and flu season….


  4. Willie & Diane Stutzman May 16, 2020 at 5:40 pm Reply

    thank you for putting this on here! I was trying to figure out how long to water bath it. Now I know. I always froze my concentrate but i dont have much freezer room and this sounds so simple!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bernice Hillman June 7, 2020 at 10:08 pm Reply

    could i can individual drinks that are ready to drink ?


  6. zunguze May 21, 2021 at 4:41 pm Reply

    How long is the tea good for?


    • Preserving the Good Life May 21, 2021 at 5:03 pm Reply

      My family drinks it up so fast that it typically doesn’t stay on the shelf long. I think the longest any has stayed on our shelves is 6 months.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. curlyhairedjohnson November 7, 2021 at 5:25 pm Reply

    For the first time, I just ‘canned’ lime juice concentrate from our own fruit and tree. For the last 15 years, I’ve let whatever we didn’t use, drop on the ground and rot. Then last week, I thought, I like to buy Newman’s Own Lime juice; why don’t I ‘can’ my own concentrate?! Preserving is so satisfying, and Mm, mm good. You have fantastic ideas! You’ve got recipes I gave a thought to—please publish a canning recipes book!!!


  8. rena December 26, 2021 at 5:37 pm Reply

    have you ever tried adding fruit like raspberries to this ???? i wonder if it would work?


  9. Steve Andrews March 13, 2022 at 9:16 pm Reply

    Will this work with any herbal tea, unsweetened, do you suppose? Thanks.


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