Did the English really invent ICE TEA?

If you have ever tried to get iced tea in England this seems hard to believe, but it’s true. Richard Blechynden, an Englishman, was trying to sell Indian black tea at the World Trade’s Fair in St Louis in 1904. Americans were mainly buying green tea from China (still upset about the Boston Tea Party events no doubt?) and the Far East Tea Company exhibited their teas in a pavilion staffed by Indians and supervised by Blechynden, a tea plantation owner. If you have experienced a St Louis heat wave you would not be surprised that the hot tea’s thirst quenching properties were not appreciated and all the fair goers wanted was something cold. With a stroke of genius Blechynden poured the hot tea over ice and served the refreshment to grateful fair attendees. This is the generally accepted “invention” of iced tea BUT a recent article that I read from the Tea Association of the USA hints of an earlier date. In the January 4, 1880 issue of the magazine, “American Punch,” there is reference to “the cooling and invigorating influences of iced tea.” It inferred that this was from the Chicago area, so I am not sure when the high sugar iced tea of the South was invented? Does anyone know?

Iced tea represents 80% of the tea consumed in the USA and is brewed from powder (RTD “ready to drink” in the industry) all types of tea bags and loose leaf. Powder and bags are very convenient to use, but leaf tea is becoming more popular from an aromatic and flavor content. Once you have tried correctly brewed loose leaf tea, you will have a problem going back to supermarket bags or powders, even just a plain old black tea will amaze you? The best method for leaf tea brewing is to use a ice tea maker that has an infuser and a design for fitting in the refrigerator. Pour the boiling water over the leaves that will remain fully immersed during the infusion. I suggest you make a concentrate, using twice the normal strength, infuse for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on the tea, then remove the infuser and make up the volume with ice or cold water. Pour over ice and enjoy. I am not an advocate of the “sun tea method.” To liberate all the flavor in different teas, tisanes and herbal blends you need in most cases boiling water and it is always good to use boiling water from a health aspect.

Tisanes, which are a fruit infusion and were drunk by Inspector Hercule Poirot in the Agatha Christy mystery novels & have no caffeine are very refreshing on a hot day. Other favorites of the remaining 125 plus are Lemon Souffle, Tea on the Beach, Strawberry Green and the black tea favorite, Indochine. Tasting of tea mainly uses 3 senses ( we can increase this to 7 attributes when we taste tea before including in our range) Vision: which is the name or look of the tea, Smell: the aroma which for some is everything, and Taste: which is where you find out if the aroma is a reality and decide to drink the whole glass? From the names of our favorites you can see why they were tried, so find out for yourself if your nose is true to your taste buds?

2 thoughts on “Did the English really invent ICE TEA?

  1. Thanks Robert – good technical answer – here is another angle on hot tea that shows that some countries believe your article is correct – This is an article by Linnea Covington that I found on the web.

    Think about it: no matter how scorching it gets outside, many cultures around the world have continually poured hot beverages. In India, it can be 110 degrees out and you will still receive a steaming cup of Assam when you visit a home. Or go to Morocco, where their regular brew consists of hot green tea with a spoonful of sugar and a whole lot of fresh mint stuffed into the glass. Deep in the deserts of
    Yemen, you will see steam instead of ice in their traditional spice-laden cups of black tea. While many people in America automatically reach for an iced coffee or tea in the summer, why do others still drink their beverages hot? Turns out, it’s not just leftover tradition: drinking hot tea, or any steaming food or drink, cools you better in the heat.


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