National Iced Tea Month
While there are many stories about how iced tea came into existence I think
this one is the most widely reported one: Long ago at the World’s Fair in St.
Louis in 1904, the summer weather began to swelter, and the lowly hot tea
vendor named Richard Blechynden was not doing well
selling his merchandise. He was a tea plantation owner and a long time merchant
of tea. The heat was causing customers to turn away from his hot drink. He saw
that something had to be done or he’d lose the entire tea crop he had brought
to the fair. He decided to try to put ice into his own drink to cool it down
and he liked it. Then he did it again for a customer and they also
liked it. He knew he was “on to” something. Along with his new invention of
iced tea, Mr. Blechynden gave away samples of his tea he enclosed in little
silk sachet bags. This also became yet another invention; the tea bag!
However, also in 1842 in Kentucky in a pre-civil war cookbook called The Kentucky Housewives, was mentioned tea and alcohol was served at gatherings and
it was named Tea Punch. (Maybe not quite iced tea but close)
Iced tea can be categorized even by where one lives. For example, in the Southwestern United States iced tea is often garnished with lime on the rim of the cup or a plate that will be given to a customer with limes and lemons both on the plate. In the United States South, iced tea is called sweet tea, it is made with a simple sugar syrup that is blended with heavily steeped black tea. Southern teas can also be seen made with a mixture
of in season fruits like peach or berries.
In the Northern parts of the United States, iced teas are almost always made from fresh steeped tea (usually tea bags) and are always unsweetened. The garnish will almost always be a lemon.
Many chain restaurants will offer pre-sweetened teas, fruit flavored teas and sweet tea varieties.
Lastly, here are some tidbits on iced tea itself:
Almost any type of tea can make a great iced tea.
Consider green tea, oolong tea and white tea the next time iced tea is made in your house. Herbal teas or Tisanes may be chilled. While iced tea has no
calories, consider the additives in your tea such as sweeteners since they will
add to the caloric count. If you’re seeking sweeteners without the calorie content or want a natural sweetener consider fruit, honey, agave and sprigs of mint or other herbs.
*Always remember when making iced tea, “suntea” is not recommended. The steeping of tea leaves at low temperatures when the boiling point is not reached often allows bacteria to form on the top of the
This can make one sick. If one has no time or does not want to make tea the conventional way, it is recommended to make “refrigerator tea”. Refrigerator tea is tea made in a water pitcher with the tea bags steeping in the refrigerator overnight.
Celebrate this month by enjoying iced
tea. Try it different ways or even invent your own infusion!
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