America observes National Iced Tea Month throughout the month of June. Iced tea is an easy-to-make, delicious beverage that has been a part of American homes for nearly two centuries. This delicious drink is not just an excellent thirst quencher but also quite nutritious. Iced tea is often flavored with lemons, oranges, and herbs, which keeps you energized throughout the day. Since the beverage is low in caffeine, it can be enjoyed by children, too. Iced tea can be brewed at home, drunk from cans, or made instantly from an iced tea mix. Iced tea can also be frozen and enjoyed as iced tea lollies. It truly is a versatile beverage! If you want to celebrate in style, check out our guide to gifts for tea lovers.
History of National Iced Tea Month
While iced tea has been around for a long time now, the beverage became a household name only after 1904. It was during the St. Louis World’s Fair that Richard Blechynden, director of the East India Pavilion, realized that serving hot tea in the Missouri heat was probably not the best way to greet visitors. To increase consumption, Blechynden started serving chilled tea through a series of lead pipes dunked in ice. From a scalding hot beverage, the tea instantly became a cool, refreshing drink, which the fairgoers drank copiously. As the beverage became a hit, more and more American homes turned to it to cool off after a hot day.
Since 19th-century general stores would mostly sell tea from China or Japan, the earliest iced tea recipes recommended using green tea. As green tea became scarce after World War II, America started importing black tea from India, replacing green tea in the recipe. Today, iced tea is almost always made with black tea.
If you are someone who prefers making iced tea using instant mixes or tea bags, then you will be surprised to know that the black tea in these recipes comes from Argentina. The tea in Argentina is mechanically harvested and exported to America to fulfill its iced tea needs. Iced tea is best enjoyed with breakfast or lunch and can be brewed with black, green, white, and oolong tea.
National Iced Tea Month timeline
Emperor Shen Nung discovers tea in China after a tea leaf falls into his cup of warm water.
The teapot is invented at the beginning of the Ming dynasty and people no longer have to brew tea every time they feel like having a cup.
One of the first cups of milk tea is served.
Tea becomes the most popular beverage in American colonies.