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The History of Iced Tea

Opening day at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis

*Image from September 1904 issue of The Cosmopolitan magazine

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Iced tea is a truly American beverage. Richard Belchynden, an American merchant, is often given credit for inventing iced tea at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. He was sampling and selling hot tea at his fair booth, but few fair-goers were in the market for hot beverages in the intense summer heat. So, he added ice to the steeped tea and voila! Iced tea was born and quickly gained popularity.

There are other documented instances of iced tea prior to 1904 (as early as the 1870’s), particularly in the southern United States.

Today, the options for iced tea are endless. Our favorite method for making iced tea is cold brewing. Use 1 oz. of your favorite tea in 1 gallon of water, steep it overnight in your fridge, and remove the tea leaves in the morning. It’s easy, cheap, and requires all but 5 minutes of your time. Not to mention it's a much healthier option than soda or energy drinks. Iced tea has evolved beyond a summer-only refreshment - it's a year round beverage!

Learn more about preparing iced tea

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