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Tea report from New York

History of Iced Tea

When was America’s first encounter with iced tea?

According to history books, we can trace the birth of iced tea to the 1904 Word’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, thanks to one inspired man.
A tea plantation owner and merchant, Richard Blechynden planned to give away samples of his hot tea to World’s Fair visitors. But it was so hot in St. Louis that people simply were not in the mood for a steaming cup of tea. So Richard thought, “If they won’t drink hot tea, how about cold tea?” This idea became an instant hit.
He dumped ice into his hot tea, and the resulting cold tea became the talk of the 1904 World’s Fair.

So it appears Americans have been drinking their tea cold for over a century!

What to drink while you read: iced tea or beer? Ice cream trucks pop up all over the city in the summer.

However, after further research, I came across a record of iced tea before the St. Louis World’s Fair. An article describes the Missouri State Reunion of Ex-Confederate Veterans held in Nevada Missouri on September 20 and 21, 1890 and it describes that the meal was “washed down with… 880 gallons of iced tea.”
And according to Pat Vilmer of the St. Louis World’s Fair Society, “The good people of the South were serving iced tea in their homes long before the Fair… It was called sweet tea served cool not hot in the summer in the South. Ice when available, was used. Remember, ice was the premium in the early days before refrigeration, not tea.”

Children play with a hacky-sack in the park. A book store display, just in time for the summer.


Reporter:Keiko Taniguchi