The introduction of iced tea is generally believed to have occurred in the southern United States in 1904, although there is some evidence that it may have been consumed by southerners several years prior to this date. Like many great innovations of our time, iced tea was created by accident at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Trade exhibitors from around the world brought their products to America’s first World’s Fair. One such merchant was Richard Blechynden, a tea plantation owner. Originally, he had planned to give away free samples of hot tea to fair visitors; however, with the arrival of a heat wave, interest in his product was less than enthusiastic. To save his investment in time and travel, he dumped a load of ice into the brewed tea and served the first “iced tea”.
Iced teas have come a long way over the last century. In addition to brewing loose leaf teas at home and serving them over ice, today you can get bottled, ready to drink iced teas infused with a variety of flavors from any grocery store’s shelves. Over 80% of the tea sold in the Unites States is served chilled, making iced tea one of the most popular beverages in our country. While any tea that you enjoy hot can be poured over ice for a refreshing change, some teas are naturals for the process due to their chemical composition. Some teas actually taste odd when served cold, while others turn cloudy. The cloudiness is harmless and doesn’t affect the taste, only the appearance. Since you probably want your iced tea to look as great as it tastes, you should try to find the right tea for the job.
For best results, use a whole leaf loose tea that has been specially blended for iced tea. Our Mark T. Wendell Iced Tea Blend is a unique blend of Ceylon, China and Java teas that are low in tannins. When brewed and iced, it yields a glass of iced tea with a full, rich flavor and superior visual clarity.