Iced tea or ice tea is a form of cold tea.
Though usually served in a glass with ice, it can refer to any tea that has been chilled or cooled. It may be sweetened with sugar, syrup and/or apple slices.
Iced tea is also a popular packaged drink and can be mixed with flavored syrup, with multiple common flavors including lemon, raspberry, lime, passion fruit, peach, orange, strawberry, and cherry.
While most iced teas get their flavor from tea leaves (Camellia sinensis), herbal teas are sometimes served cold and referred to as iced tea.
Iced tea is sometimes made by a particularly long steeping of tea leaves at a lower temperature (one hour in the sun versus five minutes at 80 to 100 °C (176 to 212 °F), which is known as sun tea.
Today, iced tea might seem like a no-brainer on a hot day. But while people around the world have been enjoying hot tea for centuries, iced tea’s history is a relatively recent story.
In 1823, Marguerite Countess of Blessington wrote of sipping iced tea in Naples.
The oldest printed recipes for iced tea date back to the 1870s. In her 1871 cook book, Mary Ann Bryan Mason wrote of iced tea: “…it should be well iced”. Two of the earliest cookbooks with iced tea recipes are the Buckeye Cookbook by Estelle Woods Wilcox, first published in 1876, and Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree, copyright 1878.
Iced tea started to appear in the United States during the 1860s. Seen as a novelty at first, during the 1870s it became quite widespread. Recipes appeared in print, iced tea was offered on hotel menus, and it was on sale at railroad stations.
It was at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis that iced tea was popularized and commercialized (not invented). Due to the hot summer of 1904, people ignored any hot drinks and went in search of cold drinks, including iced tea. Because of this, it changed the way the rest of Americans thought of tea, thus popularizing iced tea.
Iced tea’s popularity in the United States has led to an addition to standard cutlery sets: the iced tea spoon is a teaspoon with a long handle, suitable for stirring sugar in the tall glasses in which iced tea is usually served. Iced tea is at its most popular in the summer.
The American Prohibition (1920-1933) helped boost the popularity of iced tea because average Americans were forced to find alternatives to illegal beer, wine, and alcohol. Iced tea recipes begin appearing routinely in most southern cookbooks during this time.
It is a common stereotype of the Southeastern United States that due to the popularity of sweet iced tea in the region, unsweetened iced tea is not available or is frowned upon. It is often the case, however, that the term “tea” is assumed by default to mean sweetened iced tea in that region.
In the United States, iced tea makes up about 85% of all tea consumed and is very popular as an alternative to carbonated soft drinks.
Japan is one of the most important iced tea markets in the world, with iced tea in bottles and cans a common sight in the country’s ubiquitous vending machines. Japanese iced-tea products mirror the market for hot tea in the sense that they are mostly green tea and oolong products, usually unflavoured and mostly unsweetened. Suntory, Kirin, and the Coca-Cola Company are some of the largest producers. Lipton, the world’s largest tea brand, offers a range of iced tea products based on black tea through joint ventures with two local partners, Suntory and Morinaga.
A Long Island iced tea is a type of alcoholic mixed drink typically made with vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola, which gives the drink the same amber hue as iced tea. Robert “Rosebud” Butt claims to have invented the Long Island iced tea as an entry in a contest to create a new mixed drink with triple sec in 1972 while he worked at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, New York.
June 10 is National Iced Tea Day – Nothing says summer like a big pitcher of freshly brewed iced tea that’s jam-packed with sliced lemons. Whether you prefer the classic flavor of unsweetened iced tea, an iced lemongrass tea, or every Southerner’s sugar-laden favorite, sweet tea, today’s the day to make this your beverage of choice.
The largest iced tea measures 9,554 l (2,101 gal, 2,524 US gal) and was achieved by the Town of Summerville (USA) in Summerville, South Carolina, USA, on 10 June 2016. The sweet tea was brewed using 210 pounds of loose leaf tea and 1,700 pounds of sugar. Organizers initially used 300 pounds of ice to chill the tea, however this failed to reduce the tea to the required 45 degrees. Several hundred pounds of additional ice were needed to meet the guideline requirements.