Summerville attempts to brew world record sweet tea

Summerville

“Right now, it just looks like a giant blue Solo cup,” Summerville spokeswoman Tiffany Norton says of the vessel that’s supposed to vault the city into the record books and become a permanent roadside attraction.

Once Scout Boats has its way with the 1400-gallon cup, it will have a spout and vinyl covering. And on June 10, the city will make a batch of sweet tea in it, with a Guinness Book of World Records adjudicator standing by.

“If you’re going to break a record, you should do it on National Tea Day,” Norton says, explaining why the attempt to tear the “World’s Largest Iced Tea” title away from an Oklahoma Chik-Fil-A is scheduled for a Wednesday.

Summerville promotes itself as the birthplace of sweet tea, so National Tea Day is a very big deal: When city staff started talking about how to observe the holiday, the notion of setting a record emerged pretty quickly. Then, it occurred to Norton that the starring tea glass could draw tourists for years.

“People don’t go to Ohio on purpose to see the world’s biggest ball of yarn,” she says. “But if they’re there, they’ll take the detour.”

The recipe for record-setting sweet tea has the blessing of sponsor Dixie Crystals: The plan is to mix 2100 pounds of sugar into 200 pounds of loose leaf tea. The tea will be heated to 180 degrees for seeping, and then cooled to 42 degrees for serving. “It’s going to be time-consuming,” Norton says.

At 5 p.m., attendees can start sampling the tea, which will be sold in all-you-can-drink portions for $5. The price includes a souvenir Mason jar. For pairing purposes, food vendors have also been invited to the event: They’re each required to serve at least one “sweet tea-infused item.”

When Chik-Fil-A in Broken Arrow set the current record in 2010, the tea wasn’t served. “Why would you make all that tea and just throw it away?,” Norton wonders.

Norton says Summerville officials haven’t notified Chik-Fil-A of its record-breaking attempt.

For more information on the event, visit summervillesc.gov/worldrecord.