Tea has been around from time immemorial, but iced tea didn’t burst onto the scene and win over America’s hearts and minds until 1904. In that year, visitors to the World Fair in St. Louis were greeted by exceedingly hot weather. Tea plantation owner and merchant Richard Blechynden, who was present at the fair, took advantage of the situation by selling chilled tea drinks (instead of hot tea) as a cold refreshment. The rest is history. On June 10, we fill our glasses with iced tea (sweetened or unsweetened—that’s your call) and celebrate National Iced Tea Day.
National Iced Tea Day Activities
1. Drink it like the Southerners do
Take an hour out of your day to steep some sweet tea, which has been a staple in the Southerner's diet for a century or more. Park yourself out on the front porch, rock back and forth in your rocking chair, and sip your icy concoction while reading a book. Don't have a porch or a rocking chair? A living room and couch will do.
2. Host an afternoon iced tea party
Invite your friends over for tea time. Organize an outdoor seating area, get out your tall glasses and long stirring spoons, and as an added bonus, prepare a homemade tea dessert. That's right—there's such thing as a dessert that's made specifically to go with tea.
3. Brew a unique iced tea
There are many ways to enjoy an iced tea. Find a unique iced tea recipe that suits your tastes. For best results, plan ahead—the most delicious iced tea is steeped overnight for eight hours.
Why We Love National Iced Tea Day
A. It's a tasty way to boost your antioxidants
Did you know that tea has between 800% and 1,000% more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables? Scientists unanimously agree that tea is chock full of antioxidants, which help fight disease. And it doesn't matter whether you choose green, black, or oolong—all three come from the same plant and contain equal amounts of good stuff.
B. There are countless ways to spice it up
Iced tea is one of the most versatile beverages out there. Whether you prefer yours with heaps of sugar (in which case you're probably from the South), cucumber slices, coconut milk, lemon, cinnamon sticks, mango sorbet, or even a splash of rum, you're sure to find an iced tea to suit your tastes.
C. It's a healthy substitute for soda
If you're trying to kick a soda habit or just looking for a healthier alternative to carbonated beverages, unsweetened iced tea is a great choice. It's naturally low in calories—helping you lose weight and consume less sugar. But watch out! If you load your iced tea with sugar, you'll defeat the purpose.