When it’s cold it will warm you; when it’s hot it will cool you.
We are at that time of year where our motivation gently slopes on a downward trend. The booze flows in the pub gardens, the shades are out and your next door neighbours cat is taking some downtime. To brighten the mood further all the coffee shops now have iced tea on the menu. Yippee!
The elderly prefer their tea hot as it cools them down! Really!? You may ask. This is what a couple of old folks told me years ago. To this day I don’t understand the logic and have to just put it down to a good ol wives’ tale.
Iced tea is where it’s at this summer!
Iced tea can be made up into many interesting flavours making it one of the most refreshing drinks to have in the summer breeze. Yes! The summer breeze will really make you feel fine with an iced tea to hand.
Please know that at the time of writing this article it was a beautiful summers day and now the weather has turned for the worst. That doesn’t mean to say you can’t drink iced tea on a rainy day.
My First Iced Tea
I think that my first taste for iced tea would have been from a bottle of Lipton’s. Theoretically it’s not really an ice tea if there are no ice cubes present. It is more of a cold tea. I even remember watching an old TV advert on cold tea back in the late 90’s. The thought of trying cold tea back then did not peak my curiosity, if anything, I turned my nose away from the prospect. Drinking cold tea did not seem natural because in the UK you were brought up with it being served hot!
It was not until my friend, Chris, told me about Costa’s iced tea range. To be honest the only flavours they did was Peach and Lemon (not together) so there wasn’t much diversity. Nevertheless, after taking the first long slurp my brain underwent a chemical change sending me into a state of euphoria. From that day I was hooked!
My first real taste for iced tea was only two years ago. Looking back it does not surprise me. A product that has a long track record would have more then likely been around back in your childhood. Take Coca Cola for example; I am sure every man, woman and child has tried Coke at some time or another. Coca Cola has implemented clever marketing strategies during it reign to exert dominance in the UK’s soft drinks industry. Now when you think of a sugary soft drink the sub conscious mind may automatically pull up a mental image of coke.
The famous English breakfast tea is similar to coke in terms of it’s successful history. A lot of 8 year old kids would have been shown how to use a kettle and taught to make a basic cup of tea. What does this mean? It means that a majority of youngsters have had their first hot tea long before iced tea broke the scene. Tea companies like PG use the monkey for their mascot as a way of harnessing warm feelings of familiarity. After all the monkey dates back to the 60’s and has evolved from plasticine to a hand made puppet.
Iced Tea in the UK
The UK demand for iced tea has been growing. Going back 7 years, the chances of ordering an iced tea from a coffee shop was probably pretty slim. Now it seems that there is a thirst for iced tea and even the coffee shops including the independent ones now want a slice of the action. The consumption of iced tea is still not as popular as the rest of Europe. I believe that there are two reasons why this is the case.
The first reason is that UK consumers think iced tea is a typical soft drink. Lipton’s iced tea is available across the nation but having a place next to all the other soft drinks in the cold aisle it’s no wonder why there’s confusion. Besides, us Brits only like our tea with milk 😀
The second reason is likely due to the adverse weather conditions. Despite having a fair amount of sunshine for June and July, it usually pours with rain all year round and the horrendous wintery wind from the North turns thought away from any cold drinks.
Iced tea has slowly become more popular and big brand names like Starbucks have been pushing their Teavana range to break into the UK tea market. Black tea sales seem to be falling but green tea and flavoured teas have seen improvement. I envision that as more people push for healthier alternatives there is going to be a thirst for green and fruit based teas, especially when it’s served as an iced tea.
The History of Iced Tea
It is estimated that 85% of iced tea is consumed in America as a popular alternative to soft drinks.
There are two types of Iced tea and Sweet Tea.
Iced tea is just “unsweetened” tea and Sweet tea is “sweetened” tea which is very popular in the Southern states.
The World of Tea has a long history and Iced Tea has it’s own well deserved place in the ledgers.
The Early Days
Iced tea first started off as a Green tea punch spiked with liquor and appeared in British and American publications. Some of the earliest works date back to the beginning of the 18th century. Two well known recipe books that endorsed tea recipes was ‘The Kentucky Housewife‘ by Mrs. Lettice Bryanon published in 1839. This book was typical of bragging about the American fruit punches.
There was another publication that was very known as ‘Housekeeping in Old Virginia‘ by Marion Cabell Tyree. Within this recipe book are some of the earliest works of sweet iced tea recipes which are very popular in the Southern states.
As iced tea was becoming more popular in many other recipe books during the 18th century, black iced tea began to override green tea at the start of the 1900’s. The inexpensive teas imported from Ceylon, Africa and India is partly responsible for this gradual change in taste for black tea.
The St. Louis World Fair
During the very beginning of the 1900’s, black teas was starting to become more popular in Iced tea publications as they were cheaper to import from British-controlled, Ceylon and India.
In 1904 the great taste of ice tea was publicised in the St Louis Worlds fair. The St Louis Worlds fair was an international exposition held from the 30th April to 1st December, 1904 and it’s primary purpose was to promote consumer goods, popular culture and entertainment. Thirsty fair goers were looking for something cooling to drink due to the hot weather and alas iced tea found it’s ground in American culture.
Sad Times Ahead
The American Prohibition (1920 – 1933) raised more awareness of iced tea as many Americans were looking for an alternative at a time when booze was illegal. The sudden shift of serving non-alcoholic iced tea is what has probably made the beverage a part of daily life today. In the Southern states it is common to be served sweet ice tea throughout the whole year.
World War II
Before the start of World War II, America had enjoyed a choice between black and green iced tea. This soon came to an end when trade was cut-off between China and Japan ending up on a reliance of British supplied teas from parts of India.
Iced Tea Today
Today iced tea now has a place in the World of Tea. With many tea brands such as Lipton’s, Snapple and Nestea jumping on the bandwagon it is really leaving more of a mark across the globe. Even coffee chains from small to large are capitalising on this opportunity. The best part is that it can be enjoyed as an alcoholic beverage much like it’s historical roots or can simply make a healthier alternative.
Iced Tea Recipes
If you love ice tea as much as I do the cost really begins to rack up after taking regular trips to the coffee shop. This is why I recommend making your own. It’s easy and cheap. My personal favourites are Iced Rooibos tea with a drizzle of honey. Black teas are nice to and I will give you a little insight on how to make your very own. I would like to give you more recipes so I have made another post on some further iced tea recipes right here.
Waking up to a hot morning every day just makes you want to drink something cooling. Here is what I do to make my iced black tea and iced Rooibos tea.
- 950ml of boiled water
- 10 perfect scooped tea spoons of English breakfast tea
Make an ordinary tea as you would in the teapot, then pour in the boiling water. Steep the English breakfast tea with your infuser. If you prefer to use teabags then six tea bags is recommended. Four depending on the strength of the bag. You also need to ensure that the tea bags are bleach free for a crisper taste.
Leave the infusion to brew for 3 minutes, discard and leave to cool down to room temperature. Once done, put your warm brew in the refrigerator for 4 hours. I tend to make this the night before and leave in the fridge overnight so it’s ready for the morning.
You can enjoy this with a drop of milk and a sprinkle of sugar if you wish. Of course, don’t forget the ice 😉
Another personal favourite of mine is iced Rooibos tea. You will need the following ingredients:
- 950ml of boiled water
- 15 perfect scooped tea spoons of Rooibos tea
- 4 tablespoons of all natural clear honey
In the same manner brew your Rooibos tea using boiling water in exactly the same fashion you would your English breakfast. Rooibos can be infused at 100℃. When it has cooled to room temperature mix in your honey then store in the refrigerator. Take out after about 4 hours and then serve with some cooling ice.
Ice Tea Fun Facts
- Lipton iced tea holds the Guinness record for serving a 12.5 foot gigantic pitcher that held 8 large tea bags, 2204 gallons of water and probably enough ice that it would seriously be on par with any major ice bucket challenge.
- Back in 2015 an Arkansas man was reported to have kidney failure because his love for iced tea caused him some kidney damage due to the formation of Oxalate. They say he consumed 1500mg of iced tea which is significantly more then the average dose of daily oxalate.
- The long spoon was invented to easily add sugar into the tall glasses used for iced tea.
- Long Island tea does not actually contain any tea. It contains Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Gin, Triple Sec, Splash of Cola, Sweet & Sour mix and ice cubes topped with a lemon slice.
- John Noel, a Georgia state representative tried to pass a bill back in 2003 making it mandatory for all restaurants to serve ice tea. Of course this never came to fruition.
Popular Iced Tea Brands
I have been quite selective on some iced tea brands here. There are some that I have tried myself and others that have been recommended by people.
Lipton Ice Tea
This was my first ever taste for iced tea. In UK supermarkets it comes in two interesting flavours; peach and lemon. I usually find that the bottle is not cold enough when brought from the store. What I like to do is take the bottle home with me and pour into my own glass, then sprinkle with ice. There are many other amazing flavours like mango, Green tea and Raspberry. It is likely that you will need to buy these online as they cannot be found in the mainstream stores.
Another popular tea is Snapple. Lipton has the top spot for commercial iced tea in the UK so it’s rare you will find a bottle of Snapple in Tesco or Sainsbury’s. The best places to search for a bottle of Snapple is likely to be your newsagent or a market that has a good product line of foreign foods.
In 1987 Snapple had experienced very slow growth. It was not until the debut of it’s lemon ice tea that sales skyrocketed from $13,000,000 to $205,000,000.
I personally never tried the iced tea Snapple but I know that there apple flavoured juice is very tasty.
Honest tea has been owned by the coca cola company since 2011 which begs the question, is it really that honest?
I never tried Honest Tea before so I cannot judge. All I know is that it labels itself to be a bottled tea company that boasts about being organic and is not as heavily sweetened as other soft drinks.
I am yet to see my first bottle but know it is very popular in America. Apparently it was also ex-president’s, Barack Obama’s, preferred beverage.
The Final Straw
To the people that think iced tea is just syrup water they should guess again. There is seriously more then what meets the eye behind iced tea . Like most things, it’s easy to take this wonderful drink for granted as it is truly remarkable.
If you want to share your iced tea experiences or have any good tea recipes, please comment. I would love to hear from you all.