six glasses of iced tea

Today is the first day of Iced Tea Month and Thursday, June 10th is Iced Tea Day. According to Joe Simrany, past president of the Tea Association of the USA, Iced Tea Month began in 1994. The role of the Tea Association is to promote tea awareness to increase sales, so campaigns like having a national food holiday declared by congress are done in support of tea businesses and for the engagement of tea lovers. Tea writers like those of us at T Ching can use it as inspiration for new articles. And businesses can create special events. We at T Ching will publish several different articles focusing on this American tea experience and how it may be more than just a dark brew with clinking cubes served in a sweaty glass. 

two tall glasses of iced tea with mint, lemon slice and berries on silver tray

Iced Tea Earned It’s National Day

In no way did the declaration of our tea “holiday” create the popularity of the drink. The importance of iced tea to U.S. food culture began much earlier than that. It was inspired by recipes for party punch drinks with alcohol and parallels the innovations in refrigeration. And it has become an almost ubiquitous beverage throughout some southern states but well-known and readily available throughout the country. The popularity of and demand for basic brewed iced tea has inspired many other ways to prepare and enjoy this refreshing beverage. Ready-to-drink canned and bottled iced tea is a huge percentage of the overall tea market. Methods like sun tea, cold brew, and nitro tea expand how we prepare it. And dramatic innovations like bubble tea and lattes can be included in the evolution of tea served cold. 

One of the most unusual methods of preparing cold tea, known as koridashi or shinobi-cha, was created in Japan. This method is brewing tea by adding green tea directly to ice. The tea is a result of being in direct contact with the melting ice, producing an intense flavor experience. It has been suggested the U.S. iced tea traditions served as inspiration. So, we are now creative participants in the global tea lifestyle.   

*Note: Sun tea was once a popular method of making iced tea but this method comes with a slight health risk. There is a possibility of bacteria forming during the time that the tea is in the sun, especially if sugar has been added in advance.

Is National Iced Tea Month just media hype?

Yes! Of course, it is! But that doesn’t have to mean that we can’t make it meaningful as well. There’s a saying that a good cup or glass of tea is determined by the care you take in making it. We can either allow this opportunity to be limited to “hype” or we can elevate the experience.

Like all the National Food Holidays in the U.S. and other countries around the world, most began as marketing strategies to help embellish ad copy. But behind the front of commercialism, we should recognize that iced tea is a part of U.S. history and culture and celebrate accordingly. 

frozen fruit iced tea glass and pitcher

How to Celebrate Iced Tea Month

  • If you aren’t yet a fan of the cool brew, try it. You can brew a cup or a gallon. Begin with the basic recipe of making a strong batch and then pouring it over ice. Imagine how you can enhance and embellish the experience. 
  • Brew a strong cup of your favorite kind of hot tea, allow it to cool a bit and try it over ice. You can either brew a stronger version of the tea or allow it to cool completely before pouring it over ice.
  • Try with a new flavor every day for 30 days until you find a favorite or two. 
  • Experiment with one of the new styles of cold teas; latte, bobo, nitro, or shinobi-cha.
  • Plan an Iced Tea Party. Include some recipes that add fresh fruit to brewed tea. 
  • If you have a tea business, any food service business or spa, you might want to visit the (in person) World Tea Expo and Converence 2021 (June 28-30) in Las Vegas.
Tall glass of iced green tea