Bring tea bags and 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan; turn off heat. Cover and steep 30 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags.
Pour into a 1/2-gallon pitcher, and add 3 cups water and sweetener, stirring well. Serve over ice. Garnish, if desired.
*1/2 cup sugar, 13 (0.035-ounce) packets Equal, or 1/2 cup Equal Sugar Lite may be substituted.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Luzianne Tea and Splenda.