Have you ever read the Wikipedia page on “American Tea Culture”? It’s a riot. Here’s a taste: “Afternoon tea, as a meal, is rarely served in the United States except in ritualized special occasions.” You know, like Wiccan ceremonies in the deepest, darkest woods, or illegal underground cage matches being held as you read this in some dank basement in a city.
Another taste: “Any confusion when one is visiting different parts of the country can easily be solved by explicitly asking for either ‘hot tea’ or ‘iced tea.’” Got that? So the next time you’re traveling and you stop at a Gas N’ Sip off the interstate, you won’t have to worry about navigating the local mores on tea. You’ll know that you can ask explicitly for hot tea or iced tea, and the clerk behind the counter will nod his approval and thank you for being so conscientious.
c/o Natalie Dee (one of my favorite online cartoonists)
Why was I even reading the Wikipedia page on American Tea Culture? Probably because iced tea is my favorite drink in the summer, and lately I’ve been encouraged by the breadth and depth of teas that are available to be iced. Not even trying to be a homer here–it’s just really awesome that there are so many varieties.
Of course there’s always the Lipton in a jar, rocked on the side of your house so that it brews in the hot summer sun. That’s what I grew up with, and it retains a certain lo-fi charm. But what about Citron Green Roiibos with tropical lemongrass and notes of fresh orange blossom? Put that in your glass and drink it. Or maybe the traditional black is more your speed, with its smooth and malty sweet flavor that was awarded Best Unflavored Black Iced Tea at the World Tea Expo in 2006. World Tea Expo? How come THAT wasn’t mentioned on the American Tea Culture Wikipedia page?