"Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water. Some people would answer that they don’t like tea in itself, that they only drink it in order to be warmed and stimulated, and they need sugar to take the taste away. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again."
I was raised on sun tea that was almost always sweetened to within an inch of its life before serving. In my mid-teens I started taking my tea unsweetened, and now sweetened tea tastes positively gross.
Today I made sun tea for the first time in probably a decade. I had two iced glasses whilst sitting on the back porch and admiring the lawn.
My favorite time of day is the moment just after sunset, when there is still plenty of light but not one photon of it is direct. For about five minutes everything just seems to glow. Colors are richer and shapes are better defined. It's like putting on new glasses. Is there a word for this?
If finishing the dissertation was the trek to Mount Doom (and it was), and moving was the Scouring of the Shire (and it was), sitting on the back porch drinking a cold glass of sun tea and marinading in that glow just might be passing into the West.
If I ever come back, I'll let you know.