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Fresh peaches make this an outstanding summer drink. Use very ripe peaches - if buying from the grocery store, let them ripen in a paper bag on the counter for 3-4 days. It's okay if they're overripe or bruised, just pare out any really rotten bits. This is a sweetened tea, but it's not Southern-style sweet tea. For sweet tea, use an additional 1/4 to 3/4 cup of sugar, to taste.
- Fill a large pot with 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) hot tap water. Set over high heat.
- While the water comes to a boil, split the peaches down the seam, remove the pit, and cut the halves into 1/4-inch slices.
- Add the peaches to the water, bring to a simmer, and cook for about five minutes.
- While the peaches cook, juice the lemon and remove the seeds.
- Turn off the heat. Tie the strings of the tea bags together and add them to the hot water, dunking them several times. Be sure to leave the tags hanging outside the pot so you can remove them easily.
- IMMEDIATELY set a timer for 5 minutes! Do not let the tea seep any longer or it will get bitter in a way that no amount of sugar can fix.
- While the tea is seeping, prepare 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) of ice water in a beverage dispenser or large pitcher that can hold at least a gallon. Use as much ice as possible.
- When the timer goes off, remove and discard the tea bags. Stir in the sugar and half the lemon juice until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Pour the concentrated tea through a fine-mesh strainer into the ice water. Press on the peach slices to get as much liquid as possible into the tea.
- Taste and add more lemon juice or sugar. (Make sure the sugar dissolves,it will take a lot of stirring.).
- Refrigerate and serve cold.