It may come as a surprise but both the tea bag and iced tea were not the result of diligent research, but rather the product of serendipitous circumstances – both having their roots here in the U.S.
It was the American tea merchant, Thomas Sullivan, who is credited with the invention of the tea bag. Thomas lived in New York at the turn of the 20th century. In order to increase sales, he sent his customers generous samples of his teas. Since it was costing him quite a bit of money to do this, he came up with the idea to filling small silk bags with single servings of tea. His customers not only liked this new way of sampling tea, but started to place orders for the silk sachets. He may not have intended it, but Thomas Sullivan created a whole new way to prepare tea – a way that would be adopted not only in the United States but in Europe as well.
Iced tea is the most popular way of drinking tea here in the United States. About 80% of all tea consumed her is iced, but we would have missed out this refreshing beverage, had it not been for a hot summer day in 1904. It was the year of the St. Louis World Fair, where tea merchant Richard Bleychynden was promoting the latest teas – black teas from India. Since temperatures were soaring, he did not have much luck enticing passersby to try his samples. Realizing that a cool refreshing drink, might be more popular, he poured his freshly made tea over ice and served it in glasses….and the rest, as they see, is history!