It was a classic power struggle. The British Empire, powered by the Industrial Revolution, lay claim to global dominance in the 19th century. Tea, a synergistic combination of diverse flavors, threatened that status quo. Chinese tea initially entered the English market in the 17th century. Local tastes for tea soon proliferated to the extent that the mighty British empire struggled to narrow a trade imbalance with China.
Iced tea is more than just a drink - for many, it's an art form. The first ice tea was introduced to the masses on a hot day at the World's Fair quite by accident. In 1904, Richard Blechynden iced down his hot tea to sell it more effectively and a new craze was born. Of course, some households had been serving iced tea for decades previous to this, particularly in the Southern United States, but once iced tea was sampled by thousands in St. Louis, the beverage became an instant favorite.
SIMPLE ICED TEA
There are many ways to make iced tea, but the simplest is to mix commercially available powered tea into water, chill and drink. Those who pride themselves on their tea, however, would never dream of making the concoction in this way.
Most make iced tea in much the same way as hot tea. Water is boiled and tea bags are steeped. Only in most cases, you make an entire pot of tea rather than just a cup. The tea is diluted and allowed to cool, or the strong mixture is poured hot over ice to dilute and cool at the same time. Iced tea is served over ice and usually garnished with a lemon.
In the South and anywhere patrons enjoy presweetened drinks, sweet tea is often as available as unsweetened. Sweet tea is made hot, but then sugar is added to the hot mixture. When the tea is diluted and cooled, the sweet flavor, and often a few extra garnishes such as lemon, mint or raspberries make sweet tea a refreshing treat.
Like many food items, there are a great number of recipes for sweet tea that are carefully guarded and copied by generations of families. Even some restaurants bring customers back time and time again thanks to their special sweet tea. In most cases, however, even if unsweetened tea is the only available choice, it is sweetened by the individual using sugar or artificial sweeteners.
THE ART OF ICED TEA
In some circles, iced tea is as prized as a secret family recipe. Recipes for iced tea date back to 1879, and the beverage was likely served for years prior to that. In the south, iced tea is called Southern table wine simply because it is served so often and considered such a sort of pride.
If you come calling on a hot day, you're as likely to be offered a glass of iced tea as you are a soda. Given the chance, you should always opt for the tea. Not only is it more cool and refreshing, it is also an excellent source of antioxidants and natural flavors.
There is nothing unnatural about iced tea until artificial sweeteners are added. Select any kind of tea, although black tea is most often used, and brew up a pitcher for yourself. You'll quickly discover that once you make the switch to iced tea, it's very hard to go back.
For thousands of years, tea has been used for any number of medicinal purposes. Even today, tea is used to improve and protect our health. Unfortunately, many who could benefit from the healthy boosting antioxidants and natural ingredients in a fine tea find that drinking a hot glass of tea, or even iced tea, doesn't fit their lifestyle or suit their taste. Fortunately, there are now more ways than ever to get the healthy benefits of tea without boiling kettles of water or dainty teacups.
HEALTHY TEA - ON THE GO
If there's anything we love in our modern society of haste, it's a powerful drink we can grab on the go. Long have soda can and bottled water been mainstay of those seeking a cold drink while in the car or on the bus, but in recent years, many more beverages have been offered in neatly prepackaged containers that are not only delicious, but good for you. Many are surprised to learn just how beneficial a can of tea or fruit juice concoction can be. Now with so many interesting flavors and combinations of ready-to-drink teas, drinks to take on the go have a greater variety than ever.
THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF TEA
Within teas, there are many different kinds, but almost all teas have nutritional and health values. Green teas are considered by many to be the healthiest, but all teas contain antioxidants. Antioxidants found in teas are called catechins, and catechins, like all antioxidants battle free radicals and repair damaged cells within the body. This promotes good health and may even prevent cancer.
When the goodness of tea is combined with fruit, there are even more natural health benefits. The tea blends smoothly with the fruit components creating a drink which is mild yet flavorful, full of vitamins, minerals and those all important antioxidants. There are precious few beverages which can claim to refresh your thirst, boost your vitamin intake, give you energy and fight cancer in a single serving.
Tea is an ancient beverage, yet one with very modern health benefits. It's likely the health benefits of tea are even more valuable now than they were a few centuries ago. After being consumed for more than four thousand years, tea has changed very little - until now. It's been served hot, it's been served cold. But now tea is being served in a style that suits the most frantic lifestyle - you can get it to go.
Nothing goes better with a cup of tea than a few tea cakes. Long a favorite around the globe, tea cakes are a sweet treat enjoyed by adults and children alike. Different countries and customs have different styles of cakes, but the tea cakes we're most familiar with resemble small versions of traditional cakes, but designed to be a light tea complemented by hot black or grey tea.
TEA CAKE CREATIONS
There are all manners of tea cakes from those resembling simple cookies to more ornate petit fours. Often the cakes are created with a small bit of batter or dough left over from larger baking projects, but the best tea cakes are created from scratch with intent to make a delicious morning or afternoon treat.
MAKING TEA CAKES
To make tea cakes, you don't need a great deal of time, just some basic ingredients, especially if you want to create the most simplistic, old-fashioned tea cakes. To begin your baking project, gather the following ingredients:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 3 eggs
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- You'll also need a stand or hand mixer as well as an extra bowl on the ready.
Put the butter into the mixing bowl and cream. While beating the butter, gradually add sugar. Once the sugar is blended into the butter, add eggs on at a time and continue to beat. Next, pour in the buttermilk and beat the mixture until smooth. Put this creamed mixture aside.
In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, combine the flour and baking soda. Then slowly add the flour mixture into the large mixing bowl stirring slowly to ensure smoothness and minimal messes. Finally, add the vanilla and stir.
The dough will need to chill for hours, possibly overnight. To roll and cut the tea cakes, you'll need firm dough, so it is far better to wait a bit than try to work with dough that is too soft.
When your dough is firm enough, roll it to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into circles using a biscuit cutter or cookie cutter. The ideal size should be about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Place each cake onto a greased cookie sheet and sprinkle each cake with sugar.
Bake the cakes at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes until the edges are a light brown. Before serving, remove the cookies and let them cool completely.
SERVING TEA CAKES
The old fashioned tea cakes you've created have been served for generations in households across the United States and England. To serve the cakes properly, you should arrange them on a piece of serving ware along with other small food items such as tea sandwiches and fruit and pour yourself a cup of hot tea. Then you can sit back and enjoy your afternoon snack in the way it was intended.
While most associate tea time with England, the practice of tea drinking actually began in France nearly twenty-two years before tea was even introduced in England. King Charles II, who ruled England in the seventeenth century, brought with him a Portuguese bride and a firm tea drinking tradition. As the king and queen were tea drinkers, a novelty in England at the time, the tradition immediately became popular among the wealthy.
Tea replaced ale as the official beverage in England in very short order. When Queen Anne, a successor to King Charles II, chose tea over ale for her morning drink, she set a new standard in all of England. Also during the eighteenth century, tea became the customary drink with an evening meal to satisfy the hunger and thirst of those working during the Industrial Revolution.
High tea was introduced to England in the eighteenth century. Traditionally only two meals were eaten in most households - breakfast and dinner. Dinner was served late in the evening. However, when workers came home from the more industrialized labors, they were more than ready for a full serving of breads, meat, cheeses and such. These were served on a high table along with tea much like a dinner. Thus, the late afternoon meal was called high tea. Today, high tea is mistakenly identified as a formal tea in the afternoon along with pastries, but those delicacies would never have been found in a true high tea - they wouldn't be hearty enough.
Anna Maria Stanhope, the Duchess of Bedford, is credited with having begun afternoon teatime. Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria, Anne began to suffer a "sinking feeling" in her stomach around four o'clock in the afternoon as the noon meal had become skimpier. To help her make it from the noon meal to the late formal dinner, Anne first asked servants to sneak in a pot of tea and bread.
Later, as she became more comfortable with her late afternoon meal, Anne began asking friends to join her in her rooms at Belvoir Castle around five o'clock in the afternoon. She followed the traditional European tea service format and served a collection of small cakes, bread and butter sandwiches, sweets and tea.
When she returned to London, the Duchess had enjoyed her summer treat so much that she continued the practice by inviting friends to visit for "tea and a walk in the fields." Other noblewoman soon took up the practice of serving a light afternoon meal and the true teatime was born.
Because the teatime of nobles is a more casual affair than the high tea of workers, it was termed "low tea." This is because the tea and delicacies were served from low tables such as a coffee or end table rather than on a high dining table. Low tea was regularly enjoyed by the wealthy for centuries. Dinner was served late in the evening and was a truly formal affair. Today, many of the fine tea houses in North America serving "high tea" are in fact serving in the authentic style of "low tea."
Oolong Tea is a unique type of tea that originates from the Camellia sinensis plant. Oolong teas were first grown by ancient Chinese emperors and were highly valued for their rich flavor and apparent health boosting abilities. Oolong tea can enhance focus because of its caffeine content. Caffeine helps to stimulate the frontal cortex of the brain and this results in intense focus, improved memory function, and enhanced thinking abilities. There are many other health benefits to this tea, but these are just a few that we have mentioned.
DRAGON EYE OOLONG TEA
The Dragon Eye Oolong Tea is somewhere between a green and a black tea. This smooth, well-rounded elixir blends smoky Chinese oolong with safflower, peach and apricots. It is a full-leaf tea with all natural ingredients and flavors. The fruit in the blend is 100% natural fruit with no preservatives. While this tea doe contain caffeine, it is about half the dosage of a regular cup of coffee and it won’t leave you with that jittery feeling.
BLACKBERRY JASMINE OOLONG TEA
The Blackberry Jasmine Oolong Tea is anything but ordinary. This distinctive blend unites the exotic fragrance of jasmine flowers and the finest Se Chung oolong tea from China with a blast of blackberry flavor. Like all of Revolution Tea blends, this, too, is made with all natural ingredients and real fruit pieces. It is truly a unique blend that has a bold taste that will have you coming back for more.
Revolution Tea has truly revolutionized that tea industry. We use only the finest ingredients for our tea blends because we believe that it is important to put only the best ingredients inside of your body. Our Oolong Teas are no exception to this. These blends have lots of flavor and an abundant amount of health benefits. Give these Oolong flavors a try for yourself, and it will be transparent to see how much time has gone into perfecting the blends.
If you're not already a tea drinker - you should be. Tea is one of the oldest and most natural drinks on the globe, and many are discovering there is a lot more to a cup of tea than you might suppose. This is especially true of green tea, arguably the healthiest variety of the tea industry.
WHY GREEN TEA?
What makes green tea so special? Its many health benefits combined with a mild and delicious flavor have brought green tea almost instant fame over the last few years. As more is learned about the cancer preventative properties and other health aspects of the drink, green tea will continue to be among the world's healthiest beverages.
GREEN TEA REDUCES CERTAIN CANCER RISKS
There have been studies across the globe that have now provided firm evidence that green tea inhibits the growth of cancerous cells, effectively reducing your risk of certain types of cancer. Green tea has been shown to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer and cervical cancer. There are claims that green tea can prevent other forms of cancer as well.
GREEN TEA REDUCES CHOLESTEROL
Certain elements in green tea have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, or the bad cholesterol, improving the overall cholesterol ratio. Many scientists now believe that the same natural ingredients found in green tea are responsible for the lower instances of heart disease among the French despite their smoking and diets rich in fats. The same is true of the Japanese. There is a very low instance of heart disease in Japan despite seventy-five percent of Japanese males smoking on a regular basis.
GREEN TEA IMPROVES YOUR DIET, YOUR SKIN AND YOUR TEETH
Green tea has been shown in various studies to improve calorie burning in a typical diet. It also is becoming a primary ingredient in many skin care products including creams and even deodorants. Drinking green tea improves your teeth as well by reducing and preventing decay. The same property that destroys plaque forming bacteria in your mouth can also prevent food poisoning.
EGCG AND OTHER COMPONENTS
Green tea is able to do all that it does because of only a handful of ingredients. Green tea has a great deal of catechin polyphenols which are tremendously beneficial to your overall health. In particular, green tea is rich in epigallocatechin gallate, otherwise known as EGCG. EGCG is an antioxidant with powerful results. EGCG is strong enough to battle cancerous cells while protecting healthy ones. It also prevents blood from clotting improperly which contributes to better heart conditions.
GREEN TEA STANDS ALONE
Interestingly, other popular teas such as black and oolong varieties are made from the leaves of the same tea plant as green tea. However, those varieties of tea don't have the same health properties as green tea. The difference is not the tea plant, but the way the tea leaves are processed. Green tea leaves are steamed rather than fermented. This keeps the EGCG from oxidizing, thus leaving the medicinal value intact. The best aspect of green tea, however, is not its overwhelming health benefits; it's the delicious flavor that brings you back for another cup - regardless of how healthy you think you're being.
Revolution Green Teas
Tea is more than a delicious beverage, or even a hot drink with many health benefits. In countries across the globe, tea has been deemed worthy of a complete stop in the day's activities just so you can sit back and enjoy a steaming cup. Afternoon tea has traditionally been served in almost every country descended from or heavily influenced by Europe.
The rituals of afternoon tea were even enjoyed in the United States for centuries, although the practice is almost unheard of now. But should afternoon tea been wiped out with our waves of high productivity? Taking a leisurely break in the late afternoon for a cup of tea and snacks was long ago deemed unnecessary and wasteful of precious time. Perhaps now, however, we should reexamine the role of afternoon tea and consider reintroducing it to the everyday.
THE DAILY DROOP
In the late afternoon, particularly around three or four o'clock, you feel decidedly more tired and worn out than you do earlier in the day. This is the time your body needs a break. It's actually a sign that you should be napping at this time, but naps are definitely a luxury. There is tea time, however, which is conveniently organized around four o'clock as a great way to feed your metabolism, take a break, and rest up to regain the energy you need to power through another few hours of work.
Many studies have shown that the way to lose weight is to eat less more often - not to skip meals. Eating small meals throughout the day gives your body a steady stream of energy and keeps your metabolism high. A solid snack accompanied by a cup of tea is just the thing to ward off severe hunger and fatigue that often undermine otherwise successful diets.
Tea has many benefits including antioxidants, but the most important ingredient when you're feeling weary toward the end of the work day is caffeine. There is just enough caffeine in tea to perk you back up when you start to feel sluggish. Hot tea, iced tea and ready-made tea drinks all have plenty of artificial energy when you need a bit of propping up.
You may be too deep in your work to notice, but usually your best efforts come in the span of only an hour. You should be taking a break every hour or so from your work to revitalize and clear your mind. Then, when you're refreshed, head back to the desk. Taking a short break for tea can put the morning's drudgery behind you and clear the way to a brighter afternoon.
For those used to tea, it's very easy to see that tea time is fantastic for socialization. Many continue the practice simply because it's nice to sit with a pot of tea and catch up during the otherwise hectic day. Business lunches keeping you away from friends? Meet up at teatime and you can stay connected despite your intense schedule.
Tea parties aren't just reserved for little girls and aristocrats. If a dinner party is too daunting, but you want to invite a group of friends over for a good time, why not invite them over for tea? Serving tea is customary in many countries around the world, but has long fallen out of practice in the United States and Canada due to time constraints and our busy lifestyles. Perhaps an afternoon tea party is just the thing to remind you of how enjoyable a more peaceful pace of life can be.
TEA PARTY ARRANGEMENTS
Set up your tea arrangements much like a buffet. Or you can arrange your items in the center of a larger table if you've invited a smaller number of guests. A tea party is usually a smaller affair with six to eight guests, possibly fewer for a more intimate affair, and conversation is the primary focus of the event. Tea and food items are available only to supplement socializing.
Set your tea table with a full tea service including sugar, lemons and hot water. You'll also want to include artificial sweeteners and milk. The tea service should be placed near the head of the table where you will be serving, and the rest of the table should be laid with small foods such as tea sandwiches, tea cakes, fruit, scones and other simple items. You should likely avoid using full sized plates as your guests are not coming for a meal. Instead opt for smaller plates - perhaps those that match your tea set.
The Tea Party Greet guests warmly and be sure to make introductions between guests who are not already acquainted. As the hostess, you must speak to all guests and invite them to the table when it is time to serve.
Pour tea for each guest after asking how she prefers her cup. Add sugar, lemon and milk as desired and continue pouring until all guests are served. If you've opted for a buffet style set-up, you still pour tea for your guests, but you can do so as they arrive with less production and fanfare.
While you are preparing cups of tea, invite your guests to sample the food items and be sure you're keeping conversations going. The polite hostess finds ways to draw all guests into a conversation and to keep that socializing running smoothly throughout the party.
THE MODERN TEA PARTY
While throwing a traditional tea party can be fun, you might also want to add some modern touches to the occasion by offering more than a single black tea to guests. You might offer a traditional as well as herbal tea and there is no reason tea parties shouldn't be coed. Invite friends of both genders and all backgrounds to share a pot of tea and conversation in the afternoon.
Granted, most guests aren't able to come to a tea party on a Wednesday afternoon, but they might be free on a weekend. Find a schedule and set-up that fits your lifestyle and adapt the tea party to suit. After all, a tea party is a social occasion. It's all about having a good time.
While tea has an impressive history stretching back 5,000 years, iced tea has a history stretching back only as far as the discovery of preserving ice. After all, what good was iced tea in the winter time?
ICED TEA PUNCHES
While popular lore has iced tea being discovered by accident in the early twentieth century, there are documents dating the use of iced tea in the seventeenth century. In 1795, South Carolina was the only colony in America producing tea plants. It was also the only colony (later state) to produce the plant commercially. The plant arrived in the late 1700s thanks to French explorer and botanist, Andre Michaux. Michaux brought many showy plants to South Carolina during this time to satisfy the tastes of wealthy Charleston planters.
Once the plant arrived, accounts of iced versions of tea began to appear almost immediately in cookbooks of the day. Both English and American cookbooks show tea being iced to use in cold green tea punches. Heavily spiked with alcohol, these punches were popular and made with green tea, not black as iced tea is made today. One popular version was called Regent's Punch, named after George IV, the English prince regent in the early nineteenth century.
TRADITIONAL ICED TEA
The first version of iced tea as we know it today, albeit made with green tea leaves, was printed in 1879. Housekeeping in Old Virginia published a recipe by Marion Cabell Tyree calling for green tea to be boiled then steeped throughout the day. Finally, "fill the goblets with ice, put two teaspoonfuls granulated sugar in each, and pour the tea over the ice and sugar." Ms. Tyree also called for lemon in her drink.
In 1884, the head of the Boston Cooking School, Mrs. D. A. (Mary) Lincoln, printed her recipe for presweetened iced tea calling for cold tea to be poured over cracked ice, lemon and two sugar cubes. Mrs. Lincoln's recipe called for the black tea used today in iced tea as well as sugar proving sweet tea is not just a southern tradition.
ICED TEA BECOMES COMMERCIALIZED
Many other accounts of iced tea exist prior to 1904 when many historians mistakenly believe iced tea was invented. While it has been shown that the beverage had existed for a century prior to the World's Fair in St. Louis, Richard Blechynden is said to have realized that an iced version of his free hot tea would be more appealing on a summer day. It was, and with so many fair goers from around the country looking for cold drinks, the popularity of iced tea skyrocketed and the beverage became immediately well-known and eventually common throughout all of North America.
ICED TEA TODAY
Today, iced tea comes in many variations. It is served sweetened, primarily in the southern states, and served black in most others. In many area of the United States you'll get iced tea when you ask for "tea" any month of the year. Iced tea is now sold in bottles and is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It can be found in some variation on every continent. From spiked punch to healthy drink alternative, iced tea has traveled a great distance in its relatively short history.