How To: Have Tea On The Beach

beachtea2Dearies, we’ve talked a bit about taking your tea on the go. Kat is never without her tea whether it be on an airplane, at a picnic, or even hiking. But in the summer there is another important place that Kat totes her tea- the beach! She actually does both hot and iced teas for beachy afternoons. I thought it would be helpful to do a little ‘how to’ on taking teas to the beach, so you can always have your favorite beverage by your side (and hopefully your favorite teacup too!).

For hot tea, Kat will do it a few different ways. The thing you must have is a trusty thermos. Kat has them in varying sizes, depending on the group. She has a small one for herself and a larger one for tea with friends. Sometimes Kat will steep her tea right in the thermos and take it with her. Other times, she’ll bring along the hot water and tea separately. This way she can steep up individual cups, or even bring along her gaiwan for gongfu steeping on the beach. It may require a little bit more setup, but this is such a lovely way to enjoy tea all afternoon. The gaiwan setup is sure to draw a little bit of attention, and you’re sure to make some new tea-loving friends!

If you are icing your tea, you have a few options as well. You can put the iced tea in your thermos, and it’ll keep cool for hours. You can also put it in a large container specifically made for iced tea just make sure it’s lightweight and easy to pour. Kat has a little cooler that’s the perfect size for her plastic iced tea jug. Another must is plastic ice cubes. These are a must for iced tea! They don’t melt, so they don’t water down your tea. Leave them in the freezer and then grab when you are ready to go!

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For her iced teas, Kat loves to pack a pitcher filled with Southern Breeze Peach Sweet Tea. She makes the tea the night before her outing and cools it in the fridge. When she wakes up, it’s ready to go! The sweet black tea flavor combined with ripe peach flavor is perfect for sunny beach days. The tea is sweet without any added sugar or calories, so it’s a hit with all of her friends. She likes to bring along freshly sliced peaches for anyone that wants a fresh, delicious garnish. This tea is so easy to make: simply boil 2 quarts of water, add 2 teabags to a large pitcher and pour in the hot water. Steep for 3 minutes, and remove the bags. Pop in the fridge and cool! Easy peasy. Chill it overnight and have your tea ready for your day at the beach. As soon as the weather begins to warm up, Kat places an order on Amazon for this tea.

To enhance your tea experience on the beach, be sure to bring a few teacups! Drinking tea from your thermos or even disposable cups is fine, but when you bring along a few pretty cups, you’ll feel like royalty while listening to those crashing waves. What are your beachy tea-time tips? I’d love to know if you have some secrets to share. Happy summer Dearies!

 

American Tea Traditions

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Americans have been enjoying tea long before America gained its independence! And Americans have been enjoying iced tea longer than the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis when Richard Blechynden is reported to have added ice to the tea he was serving due to the extreme hot weather.

Tea was first introduced to the colonists by the Dutch East India Company in the second half of the 17th century. As tea was rising in popularity in the royal court of the Netherlands, the rising class of colonists, particularly in New Amsterdam (New York) wanted to replicate the beauty and charm of serving tea, by bringing out their best porcelain cups and tea pots, using their finest silver accompaniments, and showing off their gorgeous, ornate wooden tea caddies.

British rule brought in the more traditional practices of afternoon tea, though there are stories of unusual colonial tea presentations, such as boiled tea leaves, slathered in butter and served as a side dish. Hmm. Kat and I agree this may be a bit much for her taste…

After a bit of a roller coaster ride (Boston Tea Party, anyone?), tea made its way back into daily consumption. It is around the early-to-mid 1800’s, right before the Civil War, that iced tea is said to have made an appearance. I remember one particular trip with Char to Charleston to visit her old school chum, Betty Ann. Betty tut-tutted Mr. Blechynden’s claim, as she remembered her grandmother’s sweet tea being a summer staple years before the St. Louis World’s Fair.  She eventually conceded that Its popularity grew as a result of that World’s Fair in 1904. But regardless of how or when, the real “what” in a truly American Tea Tradition is Sweet Tea. This black tea and sugar combination is a Southern institution, and there are a multitude of variations, including recipes with alcohol!

Here is one of Kat’s favorite Sweet Tea Recipes, Sweet Ginger Peach Tea:

Ingredients:

6 Black Tea Bags (she likes Fresh and Easy Ginger Peach Flavored Black Tea), 2 cups boiling water, 1 cup sugar (or more, if you really have a sweet tooth), and 6 cups cold water.

Directions:

Steep the tea bags in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Pour the brewed tea into a 2 quart pitcher. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add cold water and chill until ready to serve. Pour over ice. And add a slice of peach, if you’re feeling a little fancy!

While many Americans enjoy their iced tea in tall glasses, I love that both Char and Kat always drank their iced tea from me. I kind of like that gentle clink of the ice!

What’s your favorite American Iced Tea Tradition?