Iced Tea History, How to Make Iced Tea
..Summer Solstice is upon us and many of us will be wondering where the time has gone. With many weeks ahead, so why not make the most of it with with our selection of Iced tea?
But what if you have never had an Iced Tea before? It would hardly come as a surprise as Iced Teas have only recently risen in popularity in the UK. Meanwhile, in the United States, regardless of the season. Its a way of life, almost a rite of passage into the “American Dream”!
You would be hard-pressed to find a subway station in Manhattan or Brooklyn, for example, without an advertisement for Iced Tea, see our selection here. Yet things are changing here in Britain, too; our palates appear to be developing to accommodate the taste for this Tea.
So, if you have never had an Iced Tea before, we have many different flavours you can choose from on our online store. After all, Iced Teas are not just limited to “Tea” in its most conventional sense. Iced Teas can be Black Teas, Green Teas, White Teas, and yes - even Fruit Teas and Herbal Teas.
There are some with apple, some with pear and Iced Teas with both apple and pear, and many other marvellous ingredients thrown in for good measure! Some that are caffeinated and Iced Teas that are caffeine-free, as well as some that offer astonishing health benefits.
History of Iced Tea
The story of Iced Tea is an American one. These delicious beverages, particularly fruit-infused ones, were first popularised just prior to the American War for independence, when high taxes on Tea imports, instigated by the British crown, led to revolution.
First came the 1773 Boston Tea Party, which saw 342 chests of Green Tea thrown into the Boston Harbour in protest of these taxes. This was the spark that brought about war. And in turn, this brought about British blockades surrounding American waters.
The blockades led to a limited supply of Tea, even more so than the Boston Tea Party had initially. Americans needed an alternative beverage, and so they looked to what was readily available across the land, that being a multitude of herbs, that also being a multitude of fruits.
For a while, during the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), Fruit Teas became known as “Freedom Teas”. They were consumed both hot and cold. Could this be the first example of an Iced Tea in history? It is unlikely. But it certainly gave rise to a new future in Iced Tea.
Throughout the early 19th Century, Iced Teas existed in the shadows, mostly confined to households with secret family recipes. A few English and American cookbooks from the 1800’s refer to Iced Teas, most of which used Green Tea as the base ingredient and were often “spiked” with hard liquor!
One such recipe from 1839 reads: “Tea Punch - Make a pint and a half of very strong Tea in the usual manner; strain it, and pour it boiling (hot) on one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar [2½ of white sugar]. Add half a pint of rich sweet cream and then stir in gradually a bottle of claret or of champagne. You may heat it to the boiling point and serve it so, or you may send it round entirely cold, in glass cups”.
By the mid-19th Century, word had got out a little more. Iced Tea drinks were considered a local custom in parts of the American south, namely North and South Carolina, particularly during and just after the American Civil War (1861-1865). One of the first official (emphasis on “official”) recipes for Iced Tea was published in Virginia in 1878.
Years later, in September 1890, a Missouri State Reunion of Ex-Confederate Veterans (servicemen who had fought against the Federal United States of America during the American Civil War, most of whom came from the American south) was held in Nevada, Missouri. Fifteen thousand veterans converged on the city of Nevada for a huge meal, one that saw over 11,000 pounds of beef cooked in preparation. The biggest surprise, however, was Iced Tea - 880 gallons of it!
The popularisation of Iced Tea, when it became a global phenomenon, is credited to one man named Richard Blechynden during the 1904 World’s Fair held in St Louis. On the first day of the event, one of the hottest days of the year, more than 200,000 people flooded the city to see the wonders of a new century.
Mr Blechynden, a Tea plantation owner and vendor, was offering samples of hot Tea, much to the distaste of many of those attending. No one wanted a hot drink on a hot day. Why would they?
Struggling to hold the attention of would-be customers, Richard Blechynden decided to pour the Tea on ice, a decision that would change the trajectory of his life as well as the Global Tea Industry. Unknowingly, Mr Blechynden had not only popularised Iced Tea-drinking in America but also, eventually, across the world! Iced Tea was here to stay.
And it became more popular still during the American Prohibition era (1920 - 1933), whereby citizens across the country were forced to find alternatives to their favourite now-illegal liquors, thus leading to a major boost for Iced Tea markets.
A short-lived slump came about during the Second World War while Japanese forces occupied much of Asia, leading to a heavier reliance on Tea imports from British-controlled India. By 1945, nearly 99% of Tea consumption in America was Black Tea - hot Black Tea at that!
But since then, the Iced Tea market has again dominated American markets. From New York to San Francisco, Seattle to Atlanta - Iced Tea is a much-loved luxury, one now travelling “across the pond” to be equally much-loved here in the UK!
Health Benefits of Iced Tea
We are all becoming increasingly health-conscious in the 21st Century. So, what can Iced Tea do to improve your everyday way of life? That very much depends on what type of Iced Tea you choose.
If you choose an Iced Tea with base ingredients of fruit, for example, then you’re choosing a beverage that is caffeine-free as well as a brilliant alternative to sugary treats. This can help in the fight against obesity as there is less sugar in an Iced Fruit Tea than, say, a bar of chocolate. Yet you’re still satisfying your sweet tooth, so surely that is a win-win?
Choosing an Iced Tea containing “real” Tea (i.e. Green or Black Tea), meanwhile, may mean more health benefits depending on your lifestyle choices. Providing one exercises frequently and eats healthily, any containing leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant (the Tea plant) can offer more than just a cocktail of flavour, but also a cocktail of beneficial antioxidants.
The antioxidants in Tea are capable of combating free radicals in the body, the product of natural, though harmful, human oxidation. We as a species are particularly susceptible to the “side effects” of oxidation. Oxygen molecules create stress on our organs and tissues by introducing free radicals to our body, which are unpaired (and unstable) electrons or groups of electrons.
The abundance of free radicals in the body can lead to many complications such as heart disease and even cancer, while antioxidants do the opposite and are able to neutralise free radicals, thus slowing down the damaging effects of oxidation.
Ultimately, an Iced Tea made from Green Tea, White Tea or Black Tea can reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular disease and possibly, although studies are preliminary, certain types of cancer. It can also reduce the risks of developing type-2 diabetes as well as being able to boost the metabolism, support digestion and, of course, relieve stress and anxiety.
Green Iced Tea: Rich in antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, specifically polyphenolic catechins. These catechins can be further subcategorised, the most vital compound being Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Not only is EGCG an important antioxidant to support healthier living, but also contributes greatly to the characteristic colour and flavour of Green Tea.
When it comes to cardiovascular health, however, EGCG has the ability to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol. This is supported by a recent meta-analysis of 13 Green Tea-related observational studies, which found that volunteers who drank the most Green Tea had a 28% lower risk of coronary artery disease than those who drank the least Green Tea.
Black Iced Tea: Enhancing cognitive function, Black Tea helps your brain. By that, we mean that the frequent consumption of any Black Tea, including Black Iced Tea, can reduce the risks of developing Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease. This is according to a report published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which referred to a recent study conducted at the University of Singapore.
The report stated that some 2,500 people aged 55 or over had undergone a test to measure their cognitive function. The experiment was repeated 2 years later, establishing clearly that those who drank 2 to 3 cups of Black Tea a day were 55% less likely to develop cognitive decline, while those who drank 6 to 10 cups a day were up to 63% less likely.
White Iced Tea: A slow metabolism means that, for some, losing weight can be incredibly hard. But a White Iced Tea, when consumed as part of an already healthy active lifestyle, can boost the metabolism. Regardless of your current metabolic rate. By boosting the metabolising, the body is able to burn fat quicker and more efficiently.
This is not just speculation, either. Scientific research has long suggested that White Tea extract effectively reduces the deposition. Its also know to help with triglycerides in human adipocytes, or fat cells. This aids and promotes the breakdown of fats in the body. This is partly due to the abundance of EGCG in White Tea, more so, in fact, than in Green Tea.
Fruit Iced Tea: It is a common misconception that Fruit Teas are without any health benefits. This is simply not true - you just have to read between the lines. For example, a recent study has clarified the long-held belief that stress plays a significant role in weight management. Chronic stress disrupts our sleep and blood sugar levels, which then leads to increased hunger and comfort eating.
With comfort eating comes further disrupted sleep, even higher levels of stress and even more disrupted blood sugars. This not only leads to unhealthy levels of body fat but also, very potentially, type-2 diabetes. A nice glass of Fruit Iced Tea, meanwhile, stops stress at the source. It sounds simplistic but it’s true. Because, after all, what could be more relaxing than sitting outside in the sun with your favourite beverage to hand?
Our Selection of Iced Teas
Blending is our speciality here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. We have made dozens of Tea blends, including many Iced Teas. And perhaps most importantly, we have many Iced Teas that cater to a variety of tastes and palates. From Green Iced Tea to Black Iced Tea; White Iced Tea to Fruit Iced Tisane! The possibilities are nearly endless.
Are you looking for a hearty brew or a healthy beverage? Perhaps you are considering one with a particular flavour, or even one with an assortment of different flavours? Whatever you want, whatever you are looking for, we almost certainly have it. So, which Iced Tea is for you?
Exotic Peach Iced Tea: Using a blend of light-bodied Ceylon Tea and Peach, we have created a naturally sweet and naturally refreshing Iced Tea, one that is low in calories and full of antioxidants. Ceylon Tea comes from Sri-Lanka, home to some of the finest Black Teas in the world. And of course, our Exotic Peach Iced Tea is no exception.
Other ingredients include rose petals, safflower petals, cornflowers and all-natural peach flavouring, which combined, are, put simply, heavenly. It is a fruity and fun cocktail designed to evoke strong images of sun-kissed beaches in faraway countries. Even when it is raining outside and the windows to your house remain firmly closed. By rights, Exotic Peach Iced Tea is seasonless. Nevertheless, it is best enjoyed in the peace and tranquillity of one’s own garden in the middle of summer.
Lemon Sencha Iced Tea: This is another Tea well-suited to a summery afternoon in the garden. After all, when one thinks of summer, thoughts often drift to images of ice-cold lemonade. Lemon Sencha Green Iced Tea, meanwhile, takes this image and betters it! With ingredients such as the finest quality Chinese Green Tea, lemon peel, lemongrass and natural flavouring. It is no real wonder that Lemon Sencha Iced Tea is one our most popular ones!
The flavour of this Iced Tea can also be enhanced with the addition of a slice of lime, maybe a few mint leaves, for a true burst of freshness! And even without these accompaniments, Lemon Sencha Iced Tea boasts strong citrusy notes with grassy undertones.
Pomegranate White Iced Tea: Pai Mu Tan White Tea is used in the making of our Pomegranate White Iced Tea, which is one of the best quality White Teas in the world. Then, rose petals, cranberry pieces and natural pomegranate flavouring are added to the Tea. Making it perfectly balanced between bold and delicate, bitter and sweet.
Most people do not think of White Teas as “Iced Teas”, but it works. In fact, not only does it work, but it works so well, it is a personal favourite of many! Don’t just take our word for it, try Pomegranate White Iced Tea for yourself!
Apple Viennese Iced Tea: This blend of sweet fruit and spices is a really refreshing mixture that will, undoubtedly, turn your friends’ heads at your next BBQ! What goes well with this Iced Tea you may ask? Why not a touch of prosecco?
Iced Fruit Tisanes suit alcoholic additions well. Understandably so, it gives the brew a bit more of an edge, especially after a long, hard day at work! But adding alcohol isn’t a necessity as our Apple Viennese Iced Tisane is just as scrumptious without. It contains apple pieces, rosehip, hibiscus, currants, almonds, clove oil, cinnamon and natural flavouring. Combined, these ingredients are delicious enough, so be sure to try it as it is before adding any accompaniments.
Bora Bora Iced Tea: The islands of Bora Bora are the jewel of Polynesia, standing out gloriously in the middle of the Pacific ocean. It is known for its white sandy beaches, beautiful lagoon and dozens of luxury resorts and retreats. Our Bora Bora Iced Fruit Tea can’t quite offer all of that, but it can certainly offer the next best thing.
Tangy yet alluring notes of hibiscus are prominent in this Tea, balanced off by the taste of sweet papaya. It is full of flower petals and fruit, which combined, evoke strong images of - you guessed it - Bora Bora! This Iced Tea also offers ingredients of apple pieces, currants, elderberries, blackcurrants, strawberry pieces, raspberry pieces, sunflower blossoms, cornflowers and natural flavouring. Ultimately, it is nothing short of indulgent with every sip.
How to Make Iced Tea
Found the Iced Tea right for you? If not, we have many more choices including Jamaican Rum Iced Fruit Tisane, Summer Fruits Iced Fruit Tisane, Passion Fruit Iced Tea and Mango and Bergamot Iced Tea. And once you have decided, or if you have already decided, you will need to know how to make your very own Iced Tea from the comfort of your home:
- Add 2 teaspoons of loose leaf Iced Tea, per person, into a cup.
- Pour in freshly boiled water to the point where it just covers the Tea - No more. No less. (If you have chosen a White or Green Tea, wait for the boiled water to cool. Ensure the temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees before pouring).
- Brew for 2 to 3 minutes if you have chosen a White or Green Iced Tea. 3 to 5 minutes if a Black Tea and 5 to 10 minutes if it is a Fruit Iced Tisane. Be sure to refer to the brewing guide of each individual product to determine the best brewing time.
- Strain the Tea leaves before adding cold water and ice cubes. You can also add further additions and decorations such as fruit, mint and alcohol.
- Not sweet enough for you? Add sugar or honey when adding the boiling water or use chilled lemonade instead of cold water.
Make your summer a great one with a lovely Iced Tea. And better still, enjoy nothing but quality with all products from The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Where every one of our Teas, Tisanes and Coffees are packed fresh to order here in our Kent-based factory.