10 June is National Iced Tea Day in the US and with the ready-to-drink iced tea industry estimated to be worth $5.2 billion, and sales of cold infusion tea skyrocketing over this side of the pond, we figured 2020 was a good time to get in on the celebrations.
Need some convincing to join us? Read on, and by the end of the page you’ll be ready to grab a tall glass and get going with #NationalIcedTeaDay.
What is it?
Exactly what it says it is – tea that has been cooled or chilled, often served with ice. There are quite a few variables though – some people sweeten theirs with sugar or syrup, others add fruit, whilst there are those who prefer their iced tea nice and boozy!
Though sometimes herbal teas are cooled and referred to as “iced tea”, recipes more commonly call for traditional black tea or green tea. And when it comes to fruity flavourings you can go wild – lemon, peach, raspberry, lime, passions fruit, strawberry and cherry are all popular varieties.
Why should I try it?
Tea is always a great choice of beverage – hydrating, low-calorie and packed with antioxidants, with no sodium, fat or preservatives. So even with the addition of some sugar you’re starting with a pretty healthy base – and if that sugar is coming from fresh fruit it’s all the better!
Plus, Americans are absolutely crazy about the stuff, drinking something like 60 billion servings of it a year – outstripping their hot tea consumption by some distance. So it must have something going for it…
Where does it come from?
The USA, unsurprisingly. It’s believed to have sprung up around the travel industry (think hotels and train stations) around the 1860s and by the 1870s was appearing in popular recipe books.
However it became a national phenomenon in 1904 when visitors to the famous World’s Fair in St Louis used it as a way to cool down in the red hot weather, and was helped along even further by prohibition, when Americans were forced to find non-alcoholic alternatives to beer, wine and spirits.
How should I serve it?
Well before you even get to serving you should make sure that you have made your tea much stronger than usual if you’re planning on chilling it with ice, as the ice will dilute the taste. It should also be brewed for 3-5 minutes, and if you’re sweetening your drink while the tea is hot you’ll need less sugar than you will if you plan on sweetening it cold. In terms of garnishes, a sprig of mint or a slice of lemon will work well with most iced teas.
Iced tea is a drink that can be enjoyed with foods, but just as with wines and beers, you should choose your pairings carefully. For light meals like grilled fish and salads sweet and zesty flavours like lemon and peach work best, whilst heavier, red meat dishes need something unsweetened and robust. Green tea recipes are the perfect balance for rich, creamy sauces.
Is it on Erudus?
Of course! We have some great iced teas on Erudus, in a range of flavours, forms and pack sizes. These include