Know Your Cup of Tea

While tea has an impressive history stretching back 5,000 years, iced tea has a history stretching back only as far as the discovery of preserving ice. PHOTO: darter.in

While tea has an impressive history stretching back 5,000 years, iced tea has a history stretching back only as far as the discovery of preserving ice. Picture of a tea garden in Munnar, Kerala. PHOTO: darter.in

Having spent the weekend maneuvering through tea plantations in Munnar, the drive brought back memories of conversations over tea here. There was the post on the complete tea experience – from planting a seed to hand plucking the tender green “silver tips” of the tea, to hand roasting and finally enjoying the “fruits” of one’s labor in distant Thailand. The one on the history of tea, too. And here is the account of how America popularized iced tea (we are betting on it being one of your go-to drinks), courtesy NPR’s The Salt: 

You’d be forgiven for not knowing this, but Wednesday was National Iced Tea Day. And while it’s only an unofficial food holiday, it makes sense that Americans would set aside a day to celebrate this favorite summertime sip: We popularized it. Tea itself, of course, has been consumed in America since Colonial times. (Remember the Boston Tea Party?) But before you could drink iced tea, you needed ice — and that was a rare summer luxury until the early 1800s. New Englanders could cut large chunks of ice from frozen ponds and lakes in winter, then insulate it with sawdust so that it could last into the warmer months. But in the hot South, snow and ice didn’t exactly abound.

Then, around the turn of the 19th century, ice entrepreneurs from Northern U.S. states started shipping ice down to Southern states and the Caribbean. Americans would come to dominate the 19th century global ice trade. And there’s good reason to believe plenty of that ice was being used to serve tea on the rocks. Early recipes had more in common with the booze-laden Long Island iced tea* than the stuff Lipton sells. Indeed, Americans were drinking iced tea in the form of alcohol-drenched punches at least as far back as the Colonial era.

Read the whole article here.

2 thoughts on “Know Your Cup of Tea

  1. Pingback: America’s Own ‘Tea’ Plant | Raxa Collective

  2. Pingback: Fortune at the Bottom of the Tea Cup | Raxa Collective

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s