Tea is drank differently everywhere you go, even within different parts of the same country.
The US is a prime example of this. From Southern “sweet tea” where the warmer climate promotes cold beverages, to Northerners hot teas that are commonly sipped during the colder weather. One thing is certain, its popularity here is growing rapidly and the types and ways to drink it are becoming more varied every day.
Some interesting tea facts Tommy Gunns has gathered from his US travels:
1773 - Dec. 16th, The Boston Tea Party took place when American colonists protested the British Government. 18,523,000 cups of tea were destroyed in the Boston Harbor at Griffin’s Wharf, igniting the American Revolution.
Three historically significant cookbooks have published popular tea recipes which are still available today.
· 1839 – The Kentucky Housewife, by Mrs. Lettuce Bryanon, gives instructions for making Tea Punch.
· 1879 – Housekeeping on Old Virginia, by Marion Cabell Tyree, gives us the oldest recorded recipe for sweet tea.
· 1884 – Mrs. Lincoln’s Boston Cook Book: What to Do and What Not to Do in Cooking, by Mrs. S.A. Lincoln, mentions the use of black tea for the first time.
1904 – Although it was not invented at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis (as many believe), iced tea became commercialized here. A merchant planned to give away samples of his hot tea, but no one was interested on the hot summer days until he added ice. Walla, a new American favorite!
1908 – Thomas Sullivan, a New York tea importer invents the tea bag. Clients mistakenly dip their silk sample bags thinking they were supposed to be used in the steeping process. When the clients started complaining that their orders were not arriving in silk bags, he invented the inexpensive gauze bag.
1917 – Americans are purchasing tall glasses, along with long spoons (iced tea spoons) and lemon forks, to accommodate their tea habits.
1920-1933 – The American Prohibition spreads iced teas popularity. Alternatives to liquor consumption fuel teas' appeal.
1930 – Crystal sets contain a goblet known as the “iced tea” glass.
1946 – Nestle introduces instant tea to the US market.
1970’s – The Long Island Iced tea is invented by a bartender, which doesn’t even actually contain any tea, only the flavor and color of tea, by combining a lot of different liquors. Potent potion!
1970’s - The Arnold Palmer - Half iced tea and half lemonade.
The Daly – Sweet tea, lemonade, and vodka. No date, but based on the Arnold Palmer.
2011 – Anything goes at home, in beverage bars, and restaurants. Restaurants are serving iced teas with fruit essences. Lemon and or lime slices are added to your glass. Unsweetened, honey sweetened, sugar, artificial sweetener, green tea, and rooibos tisanes are finding their way into our hearts. Hot tea’s consumption is growing. The plain old store bought bag is on its way out as nicer restaurants offer specialty teas from tea chests. Consumers are starting to demand better quality and more variety, causing an explosion in the American scene. Yum!
In the last five years, the US tea market has surged 22%. In 2011 more than 6.5 billion dollars was spent on tea. We agree with positive predictions that the future of our favorite drink is only going to continue to rise.
If you know an interesting fact related to American tea history, let Tommy Gunns hear it.
Life’s toiling, the water’s boiling, drink more tea.
Tea Aroma and Flavors Around the world, Lydia Gautier, 2006.