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Iced Tea: America's Favorite Way to Drink Tea />

Iced Tea: America's Favorite Way to Drink Tea

If I told you that 80% of all tea consumption in the United States is in the form of Iced Tea would you believe me? Well, it is! Iced Tea is about as American as apple pie. With roots stretching back all the way to colonial America, Iced Tea has been part of American culture for longer than most people know. Today we’re going to share with you the roots of one of America’s most popular beverages.

The first tea plant arrived in colonial America in the late 1700s. With its arrival a silent and slow revolution began, and we’re not just talking about the Revolutionary War. According to records tea was first grown in South Carolina and was used to help impress the wealthy plantation owners of Charleston. Early records for the area show recipes for “iced tea punches” in cookbooks and publications; these recipes slowly spread to the rest of the colonies. While in the modern day Black tea is the most consumed iced tea, high society during this time was consuming iced green teas. Trends for the time show they would use green tea to create alcoholic based punches for entertaining. A popular one at the time was a recipe called Regent’s Punch, a drink named for George IV, the English Prince Regent.


In 1879 the first record of an Iced Tea in its straight, non-alcoholic form was printed. This recipe created by Marion Cabell Tyree, called for green tea leaves to be boiled and then steeped all day. She instructed that for serving a tall glass should be filled to the brim with ice, two teaspoons of sugar added, and then topped with the tea. She did note that a squeeze of fresh lemon could be a nice addition to the drink.  


Now to get to black tea! In 1884 the first documentation of black tea leaves used for Iced Tea was recorded when a Mrs. D.A. Mary Lincoln, who was the head of the Boston Cooking School at the time, released a recipe for pre-sweetened Iced Tea. Similar to the earlier Iced Green Tea recipe it was to be served over a glass filled with ice, two sugar cubes, and a squeeze of lemon. This goes to show that preparation of Iced Tea has not changed all that much since then and that the South was also not the only region to drink sweet tea!


Lastly, we have the story that was believed to have been the real origins of Iced Tea at first. This story takes place at the 1904 World’s Fair with a one Mr. Richard Blechynden. It was a hot summer day in St. Louis and Mr. Blechynden noticed the fair was packed with thirsty fair-goers. He was originally serving hot tea in his booth but quickly realized he could serve an iced version to quench the thirst of the public. With his quick thinking this move helped catapult Iced Tea into the 20th century!  

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