Iced Tea Day - Rivertea Blog
Monica Munteanu | On 10, Jun 2013
You’re probably feeling the burden of a new week, but we have great news for you: today isn’t just another Monday! Today there’s reason for happiness because we celebrate Iced Tea.
Yes, the 10th of June marks a less than usual holiday, though we certainly don’t mind, that honors the iconic summer beverage. It’s the best excuse for you to take a break from your daily routine and enjoy the tasty, refreshing drink that you love so much.
As a tribute we’ve prepared a journey down history from the origin of this cold treat, to how it transformed over the years and how it is served today all around the world. But first of all let us raise a frosty glass and wish you a happy Iced Tea Day! Bottoms up!
When Tea met Ice
Though tea has been around for thousands of years, people have been drinking it cold for no more than twenty decades. It was mentioned as early as the 19th Century, in both American and English cookbooks, when cold green tea punches, as they were called back then, were consumed with liquor. One popular version was called Regent’s Punch, named after George IV, the English prince regent between 1811 until 1820, and king from 1820 to 1830.
One of the very first recipes made its appearance in ‘The Kentucky Housewife’ and it went something like this:
“Tea Punch – Make a pint and a half of very strong tea in the usual manner; strain it, and pour it boiling (hot) on one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar. (That’s 2 1/2 cups white sugar) Add half a pint of rich sweet cream, and then stir in gradually a bottle of claret or of champaign. You may heat it to the boiling point, and serve it so, or you may send it round entirely cold, in glass cups.”
Starting with the 20th Century, black tea would replace green tea as the favored flavor. The popularity of the beverage truly begun at the World’s Fair in St. Louis in 1904. Credits are given to Richard Blechynden, who was serving hot tea at the time, but soon realised it wasn’t a good option because of the burning temperatures. Then he and his team had the idea to ice it up and serve it for free, thus changing the way people thought of the consumption of tea.
And the story goes on
It’s safe to say, iced tea’s birth place was in America, where, today, about 90% of the tea consumed is cold, unlike the Europeans that prefer it hot. A whole industry emerged at the begining of the 1900s. People started buying special tall glasses and long spoons. By the 1930s, they were referring to the tall goblet in crystal sets as an “iced tea” glass.
Due to the American Prohibition between 1920 and 1933, its fame grew as people tried to find alternative alcoholic drinks. During the second World War the major sources of green tea were cut off from America, leaving it to purchase tea almost exclusively from India. The result was that black tea gained ground and, until recently, it held the monopoly, which led to it being the lead flavor in iced teas.
Iced Tea is also known as Sweet Tea, because of how it was served in the South of the United States. The southerners believed in sweetening their drink heavily, and the habit has spread to other parts of the country and the world.
One variety that has been en vogue in the past years is the “Half and Half”, also know as the ‘Arnold Palmer’. This is a mixture of sweetened iced tea and lemonade, that gives it a note of sourness.
Now, all around the world
Today, iced tea comes in many variations and flavors. You can mix it with other beverages or alcoholic drinks and it is one of the most popular potions on all the continents. It all broke out when iced tea started being commercialized and delivered to other countries, turning it into a billion dollar industry.
However, different nations enjoy it in their own way. In Brazil, for example, the most popular type of tea is mate. In Canada, people make tea at home from drink powder or cans and would rather have it in fruity flavors such as raspberry, peach or pomegranate.
Though the Chinese prefer it the traditional way, iced tisanes are fancied in the hot summers. In Hong Kong, it is commonly served at restaurants and prepared by a certain recipe: a large glass is filled with ice, a scoop of simple syrup is added (if desired), and the glass is filled to the top with hot tea, which is then covered in lemon slices. The Japanese would rather have Teagurt, a mixture of tea and peach yogurt.
In Indonesia cold tea is known as ‘es the manis’ and is served alongside a meal, while in South Korea iced tea is homemade in varieties like corn, barley and green tea. In Taiwan, they drink bubble tea made from black leaves with sugar and condensed milk, served with tapioca pearls.
All in all, this lovely cold beverage became part of our drinking habits and we’re happy there is a whole day dedicated to it. If you want to spice things up, have a look at the 5 delicious iced tea recipes we recommend for this hot summer .
We’ll soon launch our new incredibly tasty tea blends. Join us, there are lots of special gifts waiting for you.