who invented ice tea

who invented ice tea

Who Invented Ice Tea?

Ice tea has been around for many years and has a fascinating history. The detailed history of its invention is a subject of debate.

Early Forms of Tea

It is well documented that Chinese tea has been drunk for thousands of years, traced back as far as 3500 BC. In the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), tea was made into cakes combined with spices. It wasn’t until the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) that loose tea leaves became the dominant form of consumption.

First Bottled Ice Tea

The first bottled ice teas appeared in department stores in the 1880s, sold by Richard Blechynden who was the tea distributor for the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. He was looking around for a way to entice people to get interested in the tea, and so he decided to mix a combination of hot and cold teas.

Who Introduced Sweetened Iced Tea?

The actual inventor of sweet iced tea is not known, but there are two popular stories associated with its discovery. The first story claims that the sweet tea was accidentally invented in the 19th century by a Southern farmer at an Independence Day picnic. He had brewed the tea in advance but the temperature on the day was so hot that no one wanted to drink the hot tea. In order to make it more refreshing, he added a generous amount of sugar, and thus, sweet iced tea was born.

The second story claims that Asian immigrants created sweet iced tea in America in the early 1900s. They boiled the tea with sugar to make tea concentrate, which was then mixed with cold water to make a sweet iced tea.


The fact that ice tea has become an internationally loved drink that comes in many flavors and forms today, is due largely to the innovation of the many people who played a role in its invention. Its exact origins are still disputed to this day, leaving the true origin of ice tea shrouded in mystery.



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