Fill a small saucepan 3/4's full with cold tap water. Bring to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat. Add teas bags. Cover and let steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
Place sugar in a 2 quart pitcher. After the tea has steeped, pour the hot liquid over the sugar. Stir.
Refill the saucepan with cold tap water and plunge the tea bags into the water several times. Pour the liquid into the pitcher. Repeat until the pitcher is filled. Stir.
Serve over ice. Garnish with lemon slices and fresh mint, if desired.
Here's important tips:
Start with cold water for brewing the tea bag.
Brands matter. Luzianne is the best and it's the only brand I use for ice tea.
Steep tea bags for no more than 5 minutes. Three is sufficient. A longer steep time will make the tea bitter.
Place sugar in the pitcher and pour hot brewed liquid tea over it (hold on to the tea bags and don't discard them yet). This will completely dissolve the sugar negating the need to use ridiculous amounts of sugar. We don't want a syrupy sweet concoction.
After the brewed tea is poured over the sugar, fill the saucepan with cold tap water and plunge the tea bags in it several times. There's lots of goody left in those teabags and you need every drop of it. Pour water into tea pitcher and keep repeating until the pitcher is full. Stir.
Serve ice cold. Use lots of ice.
Garnish with lemon and fresh mint if desired.
You must drink Southern Sweet Ice Tea from a canning jar for maximum flavor benefit.