Tea for all -- 10 June is Iced Tea Day

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 10, 2014 11:27am | Post a Comment

(Image source -- Tikiyaki)

It's Iced Tea Day again! When people grouse about so-called "Hallmark holidays," Iced Tea Day is rarely if ever mentioned and I've never seen an Iced Tea Day card... maybe we can do something about that. 

Norman Rockwell Tea Time

According to the Tea Association of the USA, Americans consume 85% of their tea iced. Tea was first consumed on ice in the 1860s, when it was regarded by some as a curious fad. By the 1870s it appeared in cookbooks including Estelle Woods Wilcox's Buckeye Cookbook (1876) and Marion Cabell Tyree's Old Virginia (1877). According to Wikipedia, "Its popularity rapidly increased after Richard Blechynden introduced it at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis." I began drinking it -- either hot or iced depending on the weather and my whims -- when I was about eight -- both for its taste and because I hoped to stunt my growth a bit (and thus hopefully not stand out so much).

Despite this long history of tea in America (remember how American colonists reacted to England's passage of the The Tea Act 1773?) my consumption of the beverage has occasionally been assumed by some of my music store coworkers to be evidence of some sort of Anglophilia. I'm unaware of any tea having ever been grown in the UK and people in Turkey, Morocco, Ireland, and Mauritania all drink more tea than the English.

Perhaps this incorrect assumption on the part of my fellows about my reasons for drinking tea (which now have more to do with flavor and its invigorating properties rathern than a desire not to be too tall) are a reflection of the curious bipolarity with which many American music store employees seem to view the world. In essence, do you exclusively listen to English rock music or American rock music. If you fall into the former camp you demonstrate this by exclusively drinking a beverage first consumed in China -- if you fall into the latter, you do the same by choosing a beverage first drunk in Yemen (coffee).

John Singleton Copley's portrait of Paul Revere with a silver teapot John Singleton Copley's portrait of Paul Revere with a silver teapot 

For the record, most of the music that I listen to isn't rock but the last rock album that I can remember listening to was The Triffids' Born Sandy Devotional -- on a train bound for Quebec, where I am now -- both of which are proof of the existence of countries other than the US and UK -- and two countries whose people consume quite a lot of tea.

Enough with the history and time for tea (whether iced or hot). If you're like me and you like to get into the holiday spirit by watching appropriate cinematic holiday fare, there are a few movies that I could point you to, including:  The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933), Tea for Two (1950), お茶漬けの味 (The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice - 1952), Tea With Mussolini (1999), 綠茶 (Green Tea - 2003), 茶の味 (Taste Of Tea -- 2004), Blood Tea and Red String (2006), All In This Tea (2007), and The Brass Teapot (2012). I'm sure there are others -- please let me know in the comments. It was the subject of a Kids in the Hall sketch titled "Having Tea." 


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