When did they start drinking iced tea?

Iced tea was first drunk in the United States in the early 19th century, when camellia bushes grew in Louisiana and South Carolina. At that time, iced green tea punches, heavily laced with liquor, were popular. After 1900, imports of black tea from India, Ceylon, South America, and Africa were established. It was often substituted for green tea in recipes for iced punch.

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The iced tea trend emerged in 1904 after the St. Louis World’s Fair. The trader Richard Blechinden was there representing his product – tea. But because of the hot weather, visitors ignored the hot drinks and went in search of cold ones. Blechinden and his crew took the brewed tea, filled several large bottles and placed them on stands with frozen lead pipes. The drink flowed through them and cooled. Visitors to the exhibition enjoyed this kind of tea very much. Blechinden then took the design to New York, where he offered free iced tea to customers at the Bloomingdale Brothers department store. Within a few months, half of America was drinking iced tea.

The Prohibition Act of 1920-1933 also helped increase the popularity of iced tea. Americans were forced to seek alternatives to illegal alcohol. Recipes for iced tea became so popular that they began to be included in cookbooks.

At the same time as America, iced tea began to be drunk in Europe as well. The Swiss Max Sprenger learned the recipe during his trip to the USA, and when he returned he suggested that the director of the Bina company produce ready-made bottled iced tea. The first consignment of the drink sold out very quickly. In 1945 Migros acquired the rights to Bina and continued to produce bottled iced tea. Sales gained momentum and soon the drink spread around the world. So homeland of packaged iced tea was Switzerland. In Russia, this drink first appeared only in 2003.

Since the middle of the 20-th century almost all of the bottled iced tea in the world is produced by the two largest companies: Nestle – brand Nestea and Unilever / PepsiCo – brands Lipton Ice Tea and Fuze Tea. Their factories use concentrated tea extract, water and natural ingredients such as essential oils of aromatic herbs or concentrates of fruit and berry juices. The extract is made by steaming an ordinary tea brewed in a traditional way. In this form it is easy to store and transport, while the beverage retains its tonic components, taste and aroma.

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