Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Hisotry of Tea in the U.S.

After a warm weekend in North Carolina spent sipping sweet tea on a front porch and watching the cars stroll by, I decided to do a little research. Where did this custom come from? After a bit of research, I was surprised to find these interesting Tea facts:

  • South Carolina is the only state that grows tea in the U.S.A.
  • In the early 1800’s, it was common to drink tea punches. Tea punch was made from green tea and spiked with heavily with liquor.
  • The oldest sweet tea recipe in print was published in 1879 in a cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia.
  • In 1883 at the World’s Fair in Chicago, a man sold $2000 worth of Lemonade and Iced Tea
  • After 1900, iced tea became commonplace in cookbooks, and black tea began replacing green as the preferred tea for serving cold. The preference for black over green tea in an iced beverage came with an import of inexpensive black tea exports from India, Ceylon, South America, and Africa.
  • At the World’s Fair in 1904 in St. Louis, Richard Blechynden was offering cold iced tea because of the extremely hot weather. It popularized ice tea and changed how people drank tea forever. He is often seen as the "inventor" of iced tea
  • Because of prohibition in the 1920-1933, people began finding alternatives to alcoholic drinks and iced tea began showing up regularly in southern cookbooks and homes.
  • During WWII sources of Green Tea were cut off, and after the war was over 99% of the country was drinking black tea.
  • In 1995, tea was adopted as the Official Hospitality Beverage of South Carolina.
  • Currently in the South, sweet iced tea is offered for breakfast, lunch and dinner

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