This sweet tale begins in America where the iced tea we know and love today was born!
Any expert tea drinker could tell you about the origins of traditional cuppas. British influence has seen black blends like English Breakfast and Earl Grey become commonplace in every cafe, restaurant and home in Australia. But what about the origins of the iced alternative? In this Tea Journal entry, we explore the tale behind this fresh, often fruity iced tea.
Sweet iced tea: A worldwide affair
True, iced tea has cropped up in history books (or rather, cookbooks) across the 1800s in places like Italy, Russia, and the US. However, the most significant moment in the tale of iced tea came about by chance.
This singular event also marks iced tea’s entry into the mainstream market It was a hot Missouri day when fairgoers at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair sought over a cooler alternative to hot beverages in order to beat the heat.
One stallholder (tea plantation owner Richard Blechynden) saw money in this opportunity and quickly made the switch to serve his tea with ice. Henceforth, non-alcoholic iced tea entered cookbooks and cafes alike! This was a popularity that spread exponentially all over the world. Traditionally, the tale goes that iced tea was green tea and sugar. However, black tea increasingly became the number one preference over time.
Unsurprisingly, the introduction of the household fridge coincides with the rise of iced tea consumption. The ‘ice box’ (as it was commonly known in the 1800s) became a sophisticated alternative to iced tea’s rustic origins. In fact, prior to fridges, people would make tea with broken chunks of ice heralding from frozen lakes. A decrease in the cost of tea around the 1960s also saw the further commercialisation of iced tea.
Iced tea today
Did you know that iced tea is now the most popular type of tea brew in the US? In terms of tea sales, 75% of the market is iced tea and only 25% is hot tea!
As for Australia, we’re also spoilt when it comes the extensive range of iced tea variations available. While drunk throughout the year (as an ingredient in smoothies, milkshakes and ice cream as well as by itself), no Australian summer is complete without a fruit-laden jug of iced tea. So, how do you perfect this essential summer treat?
At The Tea Centre, our fruit tisanes make for a delicious, healthy icy tea. These versatile, caffeine-free blends are perfect for children and adults to drink any time of the day. Our fruit infusions (not to mention our limited edition Maté Mojito and Lemon Granita blends) are also packed with vitamins and antioxidants to keep you healthy in the warmer months. What’s not to love?
Once you have your infusion of choice, you’re ready to brew. We suggest using one of the following iced tea jugs to ensure you perfect the preparation. The tea needs to cool in the fridge overnight, so if you’re entertaining we suggest brewing the tea the night before using an iced tea jug.
Serve your iced tea with plenty of fresh fruit. This not only adds intensity to the flavour but also makes your jug of tea the perfect centrepiece for a food-laden table. Use the ingredients list on the back of the pack to help you choose which fruit will work best with your chosen infusion.
Drink and enjoy!