National Iced Tea Month is not quite with us just yet. It’s still a few months away – in June, to be exact. So hang in there. But even with this in mind, it’s not such a bad idea, at least in some of the balmier parts of the northern hemisphere, to start breaking out the iced tea jugs and glasses.
Hot tea has become much more popular in North America in recent years, but for most of us in this part of the world, the chilled stuff is still the favored use for tea leaves. By some estimates, about 80 percent of the tea consumed in the United States is of the iced variety.
We’ll probably never know for sure who to credit with being the first to put tea on ice, as obvious as this basic notion seems to us today. According to the History of Iced Tea and Sweet Tea, posted at the What’s Cooking America site, chilled tea punches, which were often spiked with something a little more robust, had begun to turn up in England and the United States as far back as the early nineteenth century.
As that century progressed and the miracle of refrigeration began to take hold, the idea of iced tea became more popular and a lot simpler. If you’re looking for some additional perspective on the origins of iced tea, refer to Iced Tea: an American Beverage, by Diana Rosen and Iced Tea: The Distinctively American Beverage, by Steven Smith.
Iced tea, as a general rule, can be made in one of two ways – either by using the hot or cold-brewed method. The fundamentals of the first method are probably well known to most of us and you can find out more about the lesser-known cold-brewing method by checking out Elliot’s instructions at the Miro Tea Blog.
Don’t forget to check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks.