Iced Tea’s Origins in America

Iced TeaIt’s by far America’s favorite way to enjoy tea. Order it in southern states and it’s sure to be sweetened whether you request it or not. Order it anywhere else in the country and just about every eating establishment or beverage stand is sure to have it. Iced tea is just about as old as the development of refrigeration and the commercial manufacture of ice.

Most of us think of a crisp tasting black tea over ice as the most popular way to enjoy iced tea. But recipes from the 1800s resembled a strong drink of cold green tea generously spiked with liquor and sometimes sweet cream. The earliest record of the more familiar iced sweet tea comes from a community cookbook by Marion Cabell Tyree, published in 1879: Housekeeping in Old Virginia.

“Ice Tea. – After scalding the teapot, put into it one quart of boiling water and two teaspoonfuls green tea. If wanted for supper, do this at breakfast. At dinner time, strain, without stirring, through a tea strainer into a pitcher. Let it stand till tea time and pour into decanters, leaving the sediment in the bottom of the pitcher. Fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoonfuls granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar. A squeeze of lemon will make this delicious and healthful, as it will correct the astringent tendency.”

In 1893, iced tea was sold at the Chicago World’s Fair, but it wasn’t until the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 that the drink became widely popular and commercialized. The weather was sultry that summer and, as legend has it, no one wanted hot drinks. The crowds went for cold drinks instead and iced tea caught on fast.

Iced tea gained even more popularity during prohibition years in America from 1920-1933. People sought out an alternative to alcoholic beverages, and can you guess what it was? Iced tea!

During World War II, America’s sources for green tea were cut off. Only black tea was available from British-controlled India. Following these years, 99 percent of all tea consumed in the United States was black tea.

There is more to tell of the rich history of iced tea in America, but are you thirsty yet? Now is a great time to stop, sit back and enjoy an iced Ceylon Star, Boldly Blackberry or Sweet Pomegranate. Get it brewing, and read more.

Add comment May 28th, 2015

The Champagne of Teas: Darjeeling

The 2015 crop of First Flush Darjeeling teas has arrived! So it is a good time to consider them, especially if you have never had the privilege of tasting one before. Though officially classified as a black tea, First Flush Darjeelings seem to fall somewhere between black and green teas. 

Why Darjeeling Tea Stands ApartDarjeeling Tea

Darjeelings are categorized by the time they are picked. When you see “1st Flush” in the name, it means that the leaves of that particular tea come from the very first harvest of the season. Consequently, the leaves take on a lighter color and have a more delicate liquor. Darjeelings are less oxidized and less astringent than most black teas, but they are much more complex in taste than green teas.

The tea is grown in the Darjeeling region of India and is tempered with high mountain air and rains. They can take on notes of flavor similar to those of wine. Musky, sweet, delicate and sometimes citrusy, these subtle tastes make savoring every sip interesting and worthwhile. Every year, we have the privilege of tasting a variety of Darjeelings and selecting what we believe to be the finest.

What Darjeeling Should You Try

First of all, you should know that a portion of the proceeds from each of our First Flush Darjeelings go to the Nepal Relief Fund. The region where these teas are grown was affected by recent earthquakes.

For a flavorful and consistent taste as well as the best value, try our Glenburn 1st Flush Darjeeling. For a smooth, sweet and floral taste, check out Giddaphar Estate 1st Flush. This is one of our very favorites. Or try Margaret’s Hope 1st Flush. It is one of the most famous tea estates in the world. Finally, for one of the most complex and well-developed tastes, try Organic Jungpana 1st Flush Darjeeling.

Check them all out, or read more about Darjeeling tea while you enjoy this season’s finest!


Add comment May 14th, 2015

Last Minute Mother’s Day Ideas

Mother’s Day will be here soon and you probably have little time to sit and read this, but if you haven’t the slightest idea how to celebrate your mom, then you probably should read on. Whether your mom loves tea with company or a quiet cup alone with a good book, we can give you the inspiration you need to make her Mother’s Day a memorable one. No need to run out and shop for a gift or pay extra fees for expedited shipping.

A Cup of Tea and Quality Time

Most moms adore the time spent with their families. Time is probably the most precious gift you could give her, and a pot of tea does wonders for inspiring warm feelings and heartfelt conversation. Bring her in and let her choose from one of our many teas, or come in ahead of time and select a few that you think she would like. A pot of Subtle Strawberry White Tea or Finest Lady Grey are almost always hits. If your mom likes to go green with her tea, Sweet Pomegranate or Finest Jasmine Pearls are well liked too.

You probably can’t go wrong with a little dark chocolate on the side as well. After all, it is the day to indulge your dear mother. Just make sure you keep the preparation simple so that you can spend plenty of time with her.

Homemade and HeartfeltEarl Grey Shortbread Cookies

Most moms also love homemade gifts from their children. If you are reading this, you’ve probably moved past the refrigerator pictures and macaroni necklaces, but we’ve still got some ideas for you. Try baking some Earl Grey Shortbread Cookies to go with your tea time, or making a bookmark for the mom who likes time alone with a book. This can be as simple as a few beads on a decorative string or a sketch on cardstock of some special memories with your mom

Celebrate your mom this weekend, whatever you choose to do. And make tea time with this special lady a regular part of your week.

Add comment May 7th, 2015

Refreshing Tea Sangrias

Hot tea starts to take a back seat to cold tea this time of year for most of us. Turning your tea into a sangria cocktail will make your drink taste even more refreshing. Check out a few of these ideas and get ready for summer weather!

Healthy Mint Sangria

This drink combines the sweet taste of melon and the tartness of blueberries with a bite of mint. It doesn’t call for any sugar which makes it healthy too. Try it with our Organic Moroccan Mint Green Tea for a truly refreshing treat.

Ingredients:Tea Sangria

  • 4 bags mint green tea
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1 bottle of wine (such as Pinot Grigio, Moscato or Riesling)
  • 1 small cantaloupe, cut into pieces
  • 1 small honeydew, cut into pieces
  • ¼ watermelon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1 handful of fresh mint, chopped
  • Juice from all of the melons


  1. Place the tea bags into the hot water and allow to brew for 3 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Pour tea and wine into pitcher and stir.
  3. Add fruit, half the mint and juice from melons if desired. Stir again.
  4. Let sit for at least an hour or overnight.
  5. Add remaining mint before serving. Serve over ice and enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from

Non-Alcoholic Sangria

For a cool drink that the kids can enjoy too, try this non-alcoholic tea sangria. This recipe calls for a black tea. We recommend one of our fruit flavored selections such as Peach Paradise or Blue Shadow.


  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons tea in an infuser or in bags
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 orange, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 lime, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 apple, cored and cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 3 cups carbonated water


  1. Pour boiling water over tea and cinnamon sticks and steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Discard tea and stir in sugar to dissolve.
  3. In a large jar or pitcher, combine tea, cinnamon sticks, pomegranate juice, orange juice, orange, lemon, lime, and apple.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
  5. Just before serving, stir in carbonated water. Pour over ice and enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from

Add comment April 30th, 2015

Inspiring Words about Tea

Tea lovers have a strong tendency to also be book lovers. What could be more relaxing than a pot of tea and a good story? The two make great companions. So we thought we would take some time to share what a few favorite authors have to say about tea. Start steeping a pot of Blanc de Blueberry or Assam Sessa and enjoy!

  • “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” –C.S. LewisIndian Black Tea - Assam from Sessa Estate
  • “I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.” –Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground
  • “My hour for tea is half-past five, and my buttered toast waits for nobody.” –Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White
  • “Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
    “I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
    “You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
    “Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.” –Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
  • “A cup of tea would restore my normality.” –Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Screenplay
  • “Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.” –Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty
  • “Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?” –Neil Gaiman
  • “Dad was at his desk when I opened the door, doing what all British people do when they’re freaked out: drinking tea.” –Rachel Hawkins, Demonglass
  • “When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?” –Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of a Hedgehog
  • “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” –Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

Do you have any favorites? Maybe this will lead you to check out a new author and a book you have never read before. In any case, we hope you enjoyed these. Stop back again sometime for more inspiration to go with your cup of tea.

Add comment April 23rd, 2015

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