Happy National Iced Tea Day!

Happy National Iced Tea Day!

National Iced Tea Day on June 10th each year celebrates one of summer’s favorite drinks. Quite popular in the United States, iced tea makes up about 85% of all tea consumed. Iced tea started to appear in the United States in the 1860s and became widespread in the 1870s. During that time, hotels offered iced tea on their menus and railroad stations offered the beverage as well.  Recipes for iced tea are found dating back to the 1870s starting with The Buckeye Cookbook, published in 1876, and Housekeeping in Old Virginia, published in 1877.

In 1904, the beverage was introduced to a larger audience at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, causing its popularity to explode.  Most historians give credit to Richard Blechynden, India Tea Commissioner and Director of the East Indian Pavilion, as being the one who popularized iced tea at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

In the East Indian Pavilion at the Fair, Blechynden was offering free hot tea to everyone.  Because of the intense heat, it was soon realized that the heat prevented the crowd from drinking his hot tea.  Blechynden and his team took the brewed India tea, filled several large bottles, and placed them on stands upside down – thus allowing the tea to flow through iced lead pipes.  This free iced tea was very much welcomed by the thirsty fair goers.  After the fair, Blechynden took his lead pipe apparatus to New York City, offering free iced tea to shoppers at Bloomingdale Brothers Department Store, demonstrating iced tea is a desirable summertime drink.

Tips for making the perfect Iced Tea

  • Use loose-leaf tea.  Opt for loose tea rather than tea bags, as tea leaves need room to expand to release their flavors.
  • For herbal tea, use boiling water (212°F).  You can cold brew by simply putting cold water in with your herbs, and letting it steep in the fridge for 24-48 hours.  You will get a much lighter flavor using this method.
  • If you will be brewing using hot water and then pouring over ice soon after, brew it twice as strong.  Because iced tea gets diluted when using ice, you really want to extract the maximum amount of flavor from your tea. For example, if you would normally use 1 tbsp of tea for 8 ounces of water, use 2 tbsp.  If you refrigerate your brewed tea in order to make it cold before drinking you can make as normal.
  • If you enjoy sweet iced tea we recommend to sweeten with fruit, honey, or monk fruit sugar.  For honey or monk fruit sugar, you can put it in when brewing hot to allow it to melt and infuse.  For fruit, after the tea has brewed, let it cool 4 to 5 hours at room temperature, and then add. You can then drink it immediately or let the fruit steep overnight.
  • If you decide to put your brew in the fridge to cool down, make sure to let it cool down first for a few hours, so there are not big temperature changes that will effect the teas flavor or break your glassware.
  • Store in a sealed glass container.  Your delicately flavored, perfect pitcher of iced tea can easily pick up flavors from plastic containers and from foods in the fridge.
  • For best tasting tea, use it within 48 hours.
Our Favorite Iced Tea Blends
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