Although tea is less popular than coffee in the United States, during the summer months the consumption of iced tea skyrockets. And no wonder – there is nothing as refreshing as a tall glass of iced tea.

Making iced tea is the only time we heartily recommend the use of tea bags. Iced tea does not require fine specialty tea. In fact, much of the flavor is lost when chilling gourmet tea.

So dig out that box of Lipton’s and brew yourself a good strong batch of tea.

Black tea is the best type of tea for iced tea, though green tea can also be a refreshing chilled drink. If you have a box of oolong tea bags, you can try making that too. The sky’s the limit for iced tea – mix and match to your heart’s content.

History of Iced Tea

Considering that our grandparents and perhaps even grandparents were fans of iced tea, the history of this beverage is remarkably short. That’s because ice was not widely available until the mid 19th century. Shortly after the introduction of the icebox, however, the popularity of iced tea soared.

Interestingly, some of the earliest recipes for iced tea called for the use of green tea. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that black tea gained supremacy as the main ingredient in iced tea.

And the other ingredients? Iced tea is usually sweetened, and sugar is the most common sweetener. Lemon is also commonly used in iced tea.

Iced tea really took off during the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The fair was held during a particularly hot summer, and so many people were trying iced drinks as a way to cool down.

One of the iced drinks being offered at the fair was iced tea, and it proved to the most popular drink at the fair.

There are many ways to serve iced tea, and the addition of ingredients such as cut-up fruit, edible flowers, or a sprig of fresh mint will liven up taste buds while cooling you off.

And of course alcohol can be added to almost anything – including iced tea. Long Island iced tea is the most famous of the “spiked” iced teas and enjoys popularity throughout the world.