Origins of the Name Ice Tea
Ice tea is a popular and refreshing beverage enjoyed across the world, however it’s not clear exactly how it got its name. Here we uncover the most likely origin story behind its moniker.
History of Iced Tea
The earliest known recipe for iced tea dates back to 1879, and comes from the Southern Cultivator magazine. Before that, references to cold tea as a beverage exist from Southern Americans in the 19th century, however it is not certain whether it was served as a cold infusion of hot brewed tea, or if it was a flavoured drink served cold.
Regardless of its original form, what we now recognise as iced tea gained popularity in 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair. The event organisers offered samples of an ice cold tea drink, popularised by iced beverage vendors who frequented county fairs at the time. This spurred the rise of the now-familiar beverage.
Why Is It Called Ice Tea?
It is likely that we have the vendor’s marketing nous to thank for the name ice tea. It’s thought to have been coined as a simple and straightforward way to distinguish the new iced beverage from the more traditional hot tea favoured at the time.
Other Names for Iced Tea
In some countries, iced tea is known by different names:
- In Italy, it’s known as Tè Freddo.
- In Germany and Austria, it’s called Eistee.
- In Denmark, it’s referred to as Is Te.
- And it goes by the name of Cha Dai in Taiwan.
At the end of the day, regardless of what it’s called, iced tea remains a refreshing and tasty beverage. The name ice tea is a simple reminder of its rare cash-generating success story, and an acknowledgement of its simple but ingenious modern twist on a traditional beverage.