Guess what June is! In the United States, iced tea is kind of a big deal. People all over love to sit back on their back porches sipping on a tall glass, sometimes sweetened a bit (a la the South) and garnished with a mint sprig.
Ah, A Nice, Tall, Refreshing Glass of Iced Tea…
But what sparked this love of iced tea?
The first recorded incident of iced tea being serviced would be in Kentucky, where cold tea recipes were appearing prior to the Civil War in cook books. Makes sense that the hotter states would be the ones to have iced tea first, don’t you think? However, iced tea was still not a hit with the rest of the United States.
Later, in 1904, the St. Louis World’s Fair was underway. Richard Blechynden, who was the director of the East India pavilion, was sweltering in the hot sun, trying to get consumers to try samples of hot tea. Needless to say, this really got him nowhere.
After his fruitless attempts, he tried something new. Blechynden circulated and chilled the tea through some lead pipes (this is its own separate issue) immersed in ice. This sufficiently cooled the drink and became a hit with the fair-goers. Thus, iced tea became popular in the US.
It’s important to make a distinction between iced tea and ice tea, though. Tea with ice in it is consider and iced beverage. Green tea was used prior to World War II for this beverage but, after the war, iced tea was made with black tea from India. Now, most of the commercial iced tea mixes and tea bags are made from mechanically harvested black tea from Argentina.
Remember too, you can enjoy any tea iced! Simply let it cool and happy sipping 🙂 Again, happy Iced Tea Month!