Iced tea is a widely popular black tea beverage made that has become a staple beverage in many countries around the world, particularly in the United States and Canada.
It’s a simple combination of tea leaves and chilled water served with ice cubes. But of course, adding extra flavor to iced tea is very common. Some of the most popular flavors of iced tea include lemon, lime, peach, raspberry, passion fruit and cherry.
Iced tea is one of the few foods that originated solely in the United States, along with bourbon and hotdogs. Iced tea was first developed in South Carolina in 1795 and not long after it began appearing in English and American cookbooks.
Most of the iced tea at that time was green tea, with generous amounts of liquor and ice - the classic “punch” beverage. That recipe has been enjoyed for generations, especially in the South were the weather is warmer.
The ice tea we know today first appeared in a cookbook dated in 1879. It was still made with green tea, but without the alcohol. The recipe was published by Marion Cabell Tyree. It calls for boiling and steeping green tea throughout the day, then ‘fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoons of granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar’. Ms. Tyree also recommended putting lemon in the tea.
In the old days, iced tea and sweet tea is a status symbol and largely drunk by the wealthy because ingredients were considered expensive. Most of the tea (especially prized varieties like Ceylon tea) and granulated sugar were imported from British Indies and Cuba, respectively, while ice was costly due to fact that refrigeration technology was still relatively new.
Ice tea made with black tea first appeared in 1884 in the cookbook of Mrs. D. A. Mary Lincoln; the head of the Boston Cooking School. Her original recipe called for cold tea to be poured over cracked ice, lemon and two sugar cubes. Eventually, black tea replaced green tea in making iced tea as black tea exports from India, Sri Lanka and South America were more affordable.
With better refrigeration eventually becoming more commonplace, ice became available all year round. That, combined with lowered prices of tea and sugar meant iced tea was now available to be enjoyed by all.
The preferred tea for preparing iced tea is black because it tolerates higher water temperatures better than green tea.
To start, pour about 4 teaspoons per cup in boiling water. This is about twice the amount you’d use if you were making a hot cup of black tea. Then add sugar to taste. Always add sugar while steeping rather than adding it to finished tea. Allow the tea to steep for five minutes then let it to cool.
Pour the tea into a transparent glass cup, pitcher or glass teapot and allow it to be exposed in the sun for one hour.
Then, pour the cooled tea in tall glasses, add ice cubes, and serve. At this point, you can add lemon juice or other fruity flavoring to your iced tea.
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