You may have heard iced tea was invented at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. From our research, it’s more appropriate to describe it as “iced tea was popularized” at the Fair because recipe books and other materials refer to iced tea long before 1904. Since the late 1800s, Americans in the southern part of the US have enjoyed cold tea. They would let hot tea cool down in the summertime and drink the cooler tea. If they could afford ice, they added ice to cool it even more.
At the World’s Fair in 1904 an Englishman named Richard Blechnyden had a tea pavilion to promote Indian black teas. At the time Chinese green tea was popular in the Midwest and other parts of the US, but black tea was not as well known. During that summer there was a heat wave in St. Louis, and few visitors were interested in the hot black tea. Blechynden decided to buy blocks of ice, make ice chips and serve iced tea. People loved the refreshing, cold black tea!
These days 85% of the tea consumed in the US is iced tea. To enjoy the best taste and health benefits of iced tea, we recommend using high quality, loose-leaf tea. To easily make cold brewed tea, add 1 tsp of tea per 8 oz of water and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the tea leaves and enjoy!
To learn more about how cold brewing works and some of our favorite teas for cold brewing, visit our cold brewing blog post.