On our countries birthday, July 4, American will drink Iced Tea and perhaps other drinks (hint beer), but did you know that America is the only country that drinks Iced Tea? Sure its summer and nothing is nicer than a cold beverage, but which ingenious American invented it?
As with most tea tales, there is more myth than fact.
But one thing is sure, iced tea needs ice and ice was not a common commodity before modern refrigerators. Ice was harvested in the winter and stored till summer. Harvesting ice occurred where ever it formed on rivers, lakes and ponds. It was cut by hand using giant hand saws into blocks which were transported on horse drawn wagons. From there it was transported and sold. Keeping the ice was a huge challenge. It had to be kept till the warm season when there was a demand for ice. If you did not store it well, you had no ice and no ice tea. So the point is that ice in the summer was an expensive luxury. Historians have found a recipe for sweet iced tea published in 1879 in a community cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree. While we don't know how popular her recipe was, there is anecdotal evidence that tea was used as mixers for summer drinks over ice and many recipes were can be found.
However, iced tea became the American beverage of summer when Richard Blechynden iced his hot tea which was not selling well during the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. It was way to hot and nobody wanted hot tea. So with a spark of American inventiveness he dumped ice into the tea and it was an instant hit. The popularity of iced tea was fixed with Americans from then on.
Now 85% of the tea Americans drink is iced tea and most of it is black tea. For the best Iced tea drop into Good Life Tea and sample some of our premium teas iced up. Or check out this link for our recommended iced teas