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Monday, June 12, 2017

A bit of History of Sweet Tea

In the united states there is iced tea and then there is sweet tea. Yes, I know many think they are the same and while they are very close in relationship there is one big difference. Sugar!!!!!

Southern states rely on their traditional sweet ice tea. They not only rely on it but they demand it and drink it by the gallons. While many think of tea as a summer treat the tea drinkers in the south desire it all year long and serve it with most meals. Other areas outside of the south may meet your order of iced tea with unsweetened or "black" tea. 

History records South Carolina as the first place in the united States where tea was grown and produced tea commercially. Andre Michaux a French explorer imported the tea and other beautiful plants to please the wealthy socialist Charleston planters. Charleston would be the location of these early plants. 

The 1800s show that tea drinks were made with green tea rather than with black tea. Tea punches which were teas spiked with liquor were popularized during this time. Towards the middle of the nineteenth century the tea punches were given popular patriotic names a change from the earlier names that were famous for giving credit to the prince and kings. 

Recipe for Tea Punch from a Kentucky Cookbook
“Tea Punch – Make a pint and a half of very strong tea in the usual manner; strain it, and pour it boiling (hot) on one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar. (That’s 2 1/2 cups white sugar) Add half a pint of rich sweet cream, and then stir in gradually a bottle of claret or of champaign (sic). You may heat it to the boiling point, and serve it so, or you may send it round entirely cold, in glass cups.” 

The 1900s would see cheaper black tea replacing the previously loved green tea. The 1904 worlds fair and the heat during the fair would help popularize the iced tea. Many thought invent it but no it was all ready invented and simply made more popular.Making iced tea even more popular were the goblet glasses, long handled spoons and  lemon forks that were popular around WWI. 

Prohibition era would again popularize iced tea because of the early accepted tea punches. With no liquor , beer or whisky legal the many tea punch recipes began once again to appear in cookbooks. The lady social groups widely accepted the definition of tea to be:

.“TEA – Freshly brewed tea, after three to five minutes’ infusion, is essential if a good quality is desired. The water, as for coffee, should be freshly boiled and poured over the tea for this short time . . . The tea leaves may be removed when the desired strength is obtained . . . Tea, when it is to be iced, should be made much stronger, to allow for the ice used in chilling. A medium strength tea is usually liked. A good blend and grade of black tea is most popular for iced tea, while green and black are used for hot . . . To sweeten tea for an iced drink-less sugar is required if put in while tea is hot, but often too much is made and sweetened, so in the end there is more often a waste than saving . . . Iced tea should be served with or without lemon, with a sprig of mint, a strawberry, a cherry, a slice of orange, or pineapple. This may be fresh or canned fruit. Milk is not used in iced tea.”
World War II would leave us once again on tea supplied by England grown in the Indies. 

Make your own

6 regular tea bags
1/8 teaspoon baking soda –
2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups sugar ( you can use splenda )
6 cups cold water

Place tea bags, baking soda, and boiling water together in a sauce pan.
Let it sit for 15 minutes.
Take teabags out, then add sugar. Mix till dissolved.
Add cold water.
Chill and serve with ice 😉

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  1. You have some neat information about one of my favorite drinks! I have never heard of a lemon fork, so I googled it real quick, those are NEAT!!! I love, love, love, old, antique things, and would love to get my hands on a few of these from the early 1900's!
    Being from Texas I was raised on sweet tea, in fact, the only person I personally know that doesn't drink their tea sweet is my husband! He calls it sweet, but it's not, lol!
    I found you from a link you left in a comment on one of my posts, and I am so glad you did!
    Have a blessed day, God bless you!

    1. thanks for stopping by and I love antiques as well I am always at flea markets either buying or selling or both. I am a sweet tea lover as well thanks for your visit

  2. Hi Angie - thanks for stopping by to visit me at Vintage Mama's Cottage. And thanks for the recipe for sweet tea - being from the upper midwest, I grew up on straight up iced tea, no sugar. But I really much prefer sweet tea, so that's how I'll make it here in northern Indiana! Hope to connect with you again soon, Nina @ Vintage Mama's Cottage

    1. so glad you stopped by I love sweet tea iced tea is yes much better with sugar that makes it sweet tea lol

  3. PS I just noticed that you are a Christian believer so I would like to invite you to visit RUBY community for Christian women. We have a monthly magazine and could sure use some of your recipes! Here's the link: Hope to connect with you there! Nina

    1. thank you and yes I am a christ believer without him I am not sure where we would be. I will be visiting the site soon


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