Tea in Teapot or Glass: There’s a Cozy Day for That
By Perry Luckett, TeaManToo
I missed the boat when I let national iced tea day go by without notice near the beginning of summer. This day is set aside on the calendar to celebrate one of summer’s favorite drinks. Whether sweetened or unsweetened, with or without lemon, many people love and enjoy tea all summer long. Others enjoy it all year long. For example, our company founder, Irene, has iced tea every day for two reasons:
1. She was born in the South
2. She doesn’t like the taste of plain water—even the pure water of Colorado.
National Iced Tea Day was June 10—Ouch, we didn’t cover it
As a popular alternative to soft drinks in the United States, iced tea makes up about 85% of all tea consumed. As you probably know, you can find it readily in restaurants, convenience stores, vending machines, grocery stores, and self-serve soda fountains. With modern infusion techniques, you can now enjoy it in many flavors including lemon, peach, raspberry, lime, passion fruit, strawberry, and cherry. (Ref: NDC)
Tea historians note that iced tea started to appear in the United States in the 1860s. Its use became widespread in the 1870s as hotel menus began to offer it and railroad stations started selling it. You’ll also find recipes for iced tea dating back to the 1870s. The Buckeye Cookbook, published in 1876, and Housekeeping in Old Virginia, published in 1877, both contain these recipes. But the popularity of refreshing iced tea grew most rapidly after it was introduced at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. (Ref: NDC)
Iced tea rules in the U.S., but celebrations cover other uses
Once I tuned in to the existence of a national iced tea day in the U.S., I began to wonder if I could find other special commemorative tea occasions on the calendar. Guess what? No fewer than seven others pay homage to this beverage in the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK)—as well as other tea-drinking countries. (Ref: PD) So let’s cover them briefly here and suggest a few ways you can enjoy them between now and the end of next year.
National Chai Day: Indian invention celebrated on September 21 (US)
Oops, this was last Saturday, so we missed it too. Still, with close to 5,000 years of popularity, masala chai has become a staple in the lives of millions. It consists of strong, spiced black tea steeped in milk or cream. Whether you drink chai regularly or only on special occasions, try savoring a spicy cup on National Chai Day. Stop into your favorite Indian restaurant or cafe to get a genuine, warming cup of masala chai. (Ref: PD)
At home you can try a quick Celestial Seasonings recipe that Irene posted to our blog a while back: https://www.koffeekompanions.com/blog-cozycomments/88?rq=chai. Or, for a special experience this fall, try a pumpkin chai latte from another of Irene’s posts: https://www.koffeekompanions.com/blog-cozycomments/10152017?rq=chai. Our company CEO likes it on her homemade granola cereal in place of regular milk.
International Tea Day emphasizes fair trade on December 15
Both a celebration of a favorite beverage and a call for fair trade and justice, International Tea Day takes place every December 15. It’s a great time to focus on how tea and the business of tea affect your life, your community, and your world. Take some time to research where your tea comes from, how it’s harvested, and how it’s made. Drink a cup of tea you feel good about.
National Hot Tea Month covers all of January (US)
Begin the new year right by warding off the cold with an entire month dedicated to hot tea. January is National Hot Tea Month, which gives you the perfect excuse to pause and breathe deeply, enjoying the steam rising from your tea and the feeling of mug’s warmth seeping into your hands. The United States remains the third largest tea importer in the world, according to International Tea Committee statistics. Russia and Pakistan are first and second. So it’s appropriate for us to celebrate this beverage, which has grown in popularity from millennials to baby boomers.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to take better care of yourself, January is a great month to develop a tea tradition, as suggested in this online article: https://www.plumdeluxe.com/tea-ritual-to-practice-presence. Brewing tea can become a moment of mindfulness and attention to yourself. (Ref: PD)
National Tea Day: April 30 covers the United Kingdom (UK)
Tea is a huge part of UK culture, so many residents go all out for this special occasion. They hold a festival (or fest-tea-val) every year to mark the day, including many tea tastings, talks on tea, tea blending experiences, and cozy tea parties.
If you’re a UK resident, consider attending the Fes-Tea-Val held for National Tea Day. If you don’t live close enough or otherwise can’t attend, consider holding your own tea festival for tea-loving friends. Put together a cozy tea tasting, or try creating a personalized tea blend together and enjoying the results at your own British tea party. (Ref: PD)
National Bubble Tea Day (US): cozy new addition vies with UK on April 30
The tradition of National Bubble Tea Day began in 2018 as a way to commemorate the popular cold treat invented in Taiwan in the 1980s and is celebrated yearly on April 30. Bubble tea combines strong iced tea with a sweetened creamer and a wide variety of toppings and add-ins. The most popular add-ins are the titular “bubbles,” or boba, which are made from tapioca.
Treat yourself to some bubble tea! As bubble tea has become more popular in the US, specialty shops have become more and more common. Do some research to see if there is one near you. If not, try making your own bubble tea by picking up some boba bubbles online, or at a grocery store, and adding them to some sweetened, iced milk tea. Make sure you have a straw that is wide enough to fit the boba!
National Iced Tea Month: more cozy days in June to celebrate tea (US)
As if National Iced Tea Day isn’t enough on June 10, the industry somehow copped the entire month of June to celebrate their wares. We anticipate June will call more for iced beverages as the planet warms, so people will be glad to cool off and feel refreshed in the advancing heat of summer. The first of the summer months is the perfect time to celebrate the diversity and versatility of tea all year long.
You can celebrate in June by experimenting with different kinds of iced tea. Drink your old favorites, of course, but also try things you’ve never tried before. You have 30 whole days, so that’s plenty of time.
National Cream Tea Day covers UK on last Friday in June
A celebration of the ritual of tea in British culture, Cream Tea Day occurs each year on the last Friday in June. That’s right—it’s also in June (I sense a theme here), but folks in the UK drink it hot all year. You can consider a complete cream tea as a light afternoon meal if you join it with scones, jam, and clotted cream.
For fun, try hosting or attending a cream tea with friends. There’s nothing like relaxing and chatting over excellent tea and scones. If you’re hosting and feel ambitious, try making your own scones from one of the fine recipes online, such as these at Sally’s Baking Addition (https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/scones-recipe/), allrecipes.com (https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/79470/simple-scones/), or myrecipes.com (https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/best-ever-scones).
Do you have a favorite way of enjoying tea? If so, please tell us in the Comments section below. In our next blog post, we’ll talk about how tariffs on Chinese tea have affected the U.S. market
Elora Powell, National Tea Day and 8 Other Tea Holidays You Should Celebrate. https://www.plumdeluxe.com/national-tea-day (PD)
Elizabeth Dobos, 5 Ways to Celebrate National Hot Tea Month, https://worldteanews.com/tea-industry-news-and-features/5-ways-to-celebrate-national-hot-tea-month, January 2, 2019 (WTN)