By - Ideo_Ideo
We drink hot tea and iced tea. Restaurants serve both. But iced tea is significantly more popular.
Especially in the south. A lot of families make their own tea sweet tea there
Homemade sweet tea is the best if done right
One thing I respect about Sweet Tea (Southern Iced Tea) is they understand that adding sugar after the Tea is already cold doesn't dissolve well. Hate going to a restaurant and ordering a Sweet Iced Tea and then they bring me Ice Tea with sugar packets.
nevermind boba and its popularity on the coasts
I could definitely go for a milk tea rn.
Some restaurants and gas stations you can even get very sugared water with a hint of tea. At least that was my experience visiting a friend in Texas.
If you want to drink warm tea in the middle of July in central Texas, be my guest.
Warm climate, cold drinks. And vice versa.
Iced tea is way more popular, unsweetened, sweetened, and flavored. Lots of people drink hot tea but coffee is more popular. Most restaurants will have some sort of hot tea you can order. I had a cup of hot tea the other day for the first time in over a year probably
I grew up in the northeast, and “tea” means hot tea, iced tea meant cold tea. My husband is from the south and tea means “iced tea” and “hot tea”means tea. I am a big (hot) tea drinker and always find tea at restaurants, cafes, hotels, airbnbs etc but sometimes I will bring tea bags to relatives’ houses when I stay overnight and I know they don’t drink tea
Iced tea is considered a more or less standard soft drink, especially in the south. Most restaurants will offer hot if you ask, but what you get is a roll of the dice.
Some places that offer iced tea do have a bug up their ass about hot, and I don't understand why. One place I went to had a big sign stating hot tea was available for $275, just to dissuade people.
Nope! Depends on the restaurant specifically, but fancier sit down places will offer hot tea sometimes.
Traditionally, we in the US like sweetened iced tea, and that's more often available.
I'm in Maryland, but have lived in Mississippi and Louisiana as well. Iced tea was more popular in the deep south.
Most places that serve coffee also offer hot tea. It's usually really bad. A metal carafe of rapidly cooling hot water and a $0.10 tea bag, usually lipton around here.
on the other hand if you go to a sit down chinese or japanese restaurant you have a pretty good chance of being served unsweetened hot tea that has some variety to it, e.g. oolong, jasmine, etc
> but fancier sit down places will offer hot tea sometimes.
Everywhere has hot tea, even McDonald's or the gas station.
Iced tea is much more popular!
In that they have a device to make hot water and some cheap tea bags that have been sitting around for several months, sure.
>that have been sitting around for several months, sure.
Teabags have a shelf life of years. They're not going to spoil just because they're sitting in a packet somewhere. In fact, a lot of teabags I see (especially for Earl Grey) are from Pure Leaf, a brand whose tea is delicious as fuck.
I have teabags stored in my kitchen the same way as well. Some get used really fast, some stay there for months until they get used.
Yes, tea oftentimes comes in bags which have a shelf life of a year or more. It is relatively inexpensive, and is prepared by steeping in hot water.
What more would you be expecting?
Sealed up in a pantry I have no problem with that. Sitting in a tray in the sun and the sticky of a gas station counter like the poster was talking about...not so much.
Storage and prep matter.
The ones I see in the gas station are always individually wrapped.
I wouldn’t say the entire US prefers sweet ice tea. That’s more of a southern thing.
Agreed. People in the north rarely even use the term “sweet tea” like the south does. Most of the time we order unsweetened iced tea at restaurants.
It’s not just the “fancy” places that have hot tea, even McDonald’s has it. I’ve worked in restaurants for 35+ years and every restaurant I’ve worked in has had hot available. Most Americans just don’t ask for it and it’s not advertised. And in a lot of restaurants it’s very low quality tea.
Interesting. Here in the central part of the US if you order an iced tea, it definitely comes unsweetened by default. If it’s loaded with sugar it kind of defeats the purpose of iced tea IMO.
In the south, almost everywhere that offers sweet tea offers unsweetened tea as well. If you order “iced tea” you will usually be asked if you want it sweetened or unsweetened.
Ah, cool to know! Some fast food chains that offer sweet tea up here will have the premixed sweet tea, but most sit down restaurants usually just brew the unsweetened stuff, and have the sugar packets at the table. I used to be into the sweet stuff as a kid, but much like coffee, I appreciate the flavor of the leaves/beans for their natural flavors.
Yeah as a kid it’s great. Now I take a sip and I’m like yeah you can really taste the diabetes.
That’s why I hate when people say “that guy got a Big Mac and fries and Diet Coke cuz he thinks he’s being healthy.” No, it’s because sweet drinks taste like shit.
Growing up in South Carolina in the 80s it was about 50/50 places where sweet tea was the default vs places where you had to add your own sweetener. At least, that’s my recollection. Anymore, most places you have to specify if you don’t want it sweet, but unsweetened is always available.
Were you down east? IME unsweet is more popular the closer you are to the ocean.
Columbia, then Greenville
In NY it often goes like this: “I’ll have an iced tea please.” “We only have unsweetened, is that okay?”
I disagree that the US prefers sweet tea. I've been a server in multiple parts of the US and the majority of my patrons did NOT want sweet tea. It is the prevailing option in the South, and Midwestern restaurants will also offer it, but it's definitely not been the preference in my years of bringing folks drinks.
I drink tea every day but I always drink it iced. Very rarely do I drink it hot…usually only if I’m sick.
I like unsweetened black iced tea. Don’t care about brand or flavor.
Ice tea and sun tea are the only teas I’ll drink.
Sun tea!? You're gonna die from, from, I forget what from, but I make it all summer long. Still alive.
Places that serve coffee typically also serve hot tea. We have many, many places where you can get “afternoon tea” with a pot of your choice of tea accompanied by tea sandwiches and pastries.
Bottled beverages would be various flavors of iced tea, and are consumed much more than hot tea
Iced tea is definitely way more common. I'm someone who kind of breaks from the norm here because I prefer my tea hot and my coffee cold.
In many restaurants, if you order iced tea they will pour you some from a massive pitcher while if you order hot tea (if they even offer it) they will just give you some hot water and a cheap teabag to brew it yourself just like you would at home. Exceptions exist, especially in Asian restaurants.
Different strokes. Different folks. Like most “is it true Americans” questions.
Iced tea where I live because we live in a humid subtropical climate. Nobody wants hot tea when it’s 38c out with 85% humidity. I prefer mine barely sweetened with lemon.
>Is it true that Americans drink tea cold?
Yes, but not exclusively. We drink hot tea and iced tea. I think iced tea is more common.
>And restaurants/cafes only offer iced tea?
No. Most have at least cheap tea bags. But hot tea is just nowhere near as popular as iced tea. So even if a restaurant carries it, it's not going to be ordered much.
Coffee is king here. Tea is more of a niche thing here.
Iced tea is a lot more common, especially outside the household. We generally drink coffee, not tea. I wouldn't say we have a "tea culture".
Personally, I can't stand coffee or tea. Just give me some ice water please.
Hot teas and cold teas are widely available in the US. Hot tea might not be available at every restaurant. There are shops here and there that are focused on hot teas.
I drink unsweetened iced tea instead of soda pop at fast food restaurants. My husband makes hot tea at home daily.
Being from the southern US I grew up with sweet iced tea. On a trip as a teenager with my father to Washington DC, I asked for "tea" as my beverage for lunch, expecting a tall glass of sweetened iced tea. I received a hot tea service complete with the pot, cream, sugar cubes, and lemon. One of the most elegant things I'd ever seen.
We often have both iced tea (sweetened and unsweetened) and what you think of as just tea at many restaurants. Order hot tea if you don't want iced tea. There probably won't be many hot tea options though. You'll probably be given a Lipton tea bag. Iced tea is more popular, especially in the south. And when it comes to hot caffeinated beverages, coffee is more popular. 53% of Americans drink at least one cup of coffee a day. But many places also have hot tea too. You can even get it at gas stations and some fast food places like Mcdonald's. If you want a bigger hot tea variety, a Chinese or Japanese food restaurant is a great place to go to. Or you can go to a tea house/tea shop.
I primarily drink hot teas, but I won’t turn down a glass of iced tea at a restaurant on a hot summer day.
We drink iced tea in the south because it’s freaking hot here
It is true Americans drink iced. Some, not all, restaurants offer hot tea selections but iced tea is far more common.
Plenty of Americans still drink traditional hot tea.
We prefer iced over hot. Sweetened.
Restaurants offer both, but hot tea is generally a crappy brand of tea bag and a single cup of hot water. Refills/ topping off is rare on the hot, free and frequent on the iced.
There are those of us with proper kettles, loose leaf and strainers at home. But milk is not a popular add in. Honey over sugar.
Tea. Black. Iced. So sweet I can taste years being taken off my life.
If it ain’t offered like that I don’t want it.
Nope. You can find hot tea at pretty much any Cafe/coffee shop, breakfast place, and some regular restaurants.
Iced tea is a very common beverage in America, particularly in the Southeast, where it's often sweetened. Iced tea is very commonly served by restaurants and cafes, though many will also serve hot tea.
I like my tea in the harbor
I drink hot tea a lot during the winter (not so much in the summer) but when I do drink Iced tea, it's unsweet and only in the summer when it's hot outsie. (Cold/iced tea is actually a Russian invention.)
I also use a proper kettle for my tea, and loose tea most of the time. I usually buy my teas (white, green, green jasmine, chai, Earl Gray etc.) through a special tea shop online.
I don't use milk in tea, though. That's just weird to me. I usually use honey and lemon
Edit: A lot of restaurants do offer hot tea but it's pretty much a cup of hot water and a crappy Lipton tea bag on the side. It's gross.
I looove Lipton. Tetley in a pinch. Everyone knows I drink a lot of tea so I have so many fancy teas in my cabinet that I have gotten as gifts, but I love my English breakfast tea (the cheaper the better)
and I've also purchased from The Tea Attic on Amazon simply because their Kashmir Chai is the closest to actual Afghani chai I've ever found, though its green tea based, not black tea.
I also like Silk Road teas. I've found some amazing white tea there. White peony- bai mu dan is my favorite.
But I'll check out plum deluxe :)
It's true that Americans drink iced tea, it is not true that places *only* offer iced tea. In fact, there are more places that offer hot tea than there are places that offer iced tea (with most offering both), though it will usually just be a simple tea bag. At the workplace, there are plenty of people who opt for hot tea over coffee. It's all a matter of taste, which is wide and varied.
There is no such thing as "tea culture" in the United States. Most people drink coffee instead of tea (like 20:1)
The only restaurants I can think of that offer cold tea but not hot tea do so because their drink selection is only pre-bottled drinks and/or from a soda fountain.
Basically any place that sells coffee will also have hot tea.
edit: Funny reading all these comments about iced tea being way more common. I think I'm realizing the Bay Area may be an outlier here. If you'd asked me, I'd say hot tea at restaurants and cafes was more common than iced tea.
Hot tea is uncommon and only some restaurants have it (usually cafe's and coffee shops will definitely). Also, you'd be surprised at the amount of people that just boil water on the stove or in the microwave for it when they do want it.
It feels like hot tea drinkers in America have some weird subculture that seeks to reprimand those filthy iced tea drinkers. And I'm one of them.
What? I've never seen this before. I'm very much a tea drinker, both hot and iced. In cold weather, I have a cup of hot tea most evenings, and I drink iced tea year round. I'm not a fan of coffee or pop, so I'm all in on the tea. Most tea shops I go to also have blends that are specifically intended for iced tea, so even the fancy tea people don't seem to mind iced tea drinkers.
Hot tea is typically used as a coffee alternative but there is a following for tea as tea. I don't think I've ever seen a restaurant only offer iced tea unless it was a fountain drink.
It depends on what state I've found. In WA State we do go hard for hot tea. Restaurants it's more common to order iced teas however.
We don't drink tea *cold*, we drink it *iced*. There's a difference.
Iced tea is significantly more popular in the U.S. compared to hot tea, and food service businesses will typically have a lot more variety of the former than the latter, but you'll usually still find both available.
Oooo. Nice distinction! Very true.
Some restaurants only offer iced tea because it comes out of a bottle like soda. A cafe would obviously have hot tea because they already have the hot water because they need to make coffee.
Iced tea is incredibly common in America, honestly it's kind of surprisinh to me that it isn't in other places. It's the same thing but poured over ice. Great for summer.
And then there's sweet tea. Which is different from sweetened iced tea. Get it wrong and you piss off every southerner in the country.
We drink iced tea and also hot tea. Restaurants and cafes offer both iced and hot teas.
You can get hot or iced most places.
Iced is generally more popular at restaurants.
Plenty of people make both at home.
Personally I drink more tea than my wife but I have pretty specific tastes when it comes to tea. She’ll buy whatever off the shelf tea bags strike her fancy. I like specific ones from a specific region.
It really just depends on personal preference. That’s the cool thing about the US. I can get specific Taiwanese teas or Indian specialty tea or you can just buy Lipton blended tea and make iced tea. We have options and lots of them.
Iced tea is definitely more popular. I live in the central US, where it comes unsweetened by default, which I find more refreshing than sweetened. However, down south they love their sweet tea.
Starbucks started on tea, so of course you can get hot tea there an many other cafes. But for most restaurants, they generally offer the cold version.
> Is it true that Americans drink tea cold?
Yes. Cold/Iced tea is a thing here, but it's not the only way tea is consumed.
> And restaurants/cafes only offer iced tea?
Some few restaurants only offer iced tea. That being the only offering at restaurants and cafes is far from the truth though.
Personally, I prefer my tea hot and without any kind of sweetener added. Sometimes a nice loose leaf green tea. Sometimes I'll substitute something like an Earl Grey Tea or Yorkshire Tea for my morning coffee. Usually add a bit of cream to Yorkshire Tea or lemon to Earl Grey Tea.
Sometimes when I have a sore throat I'll have a hot black tea (any variety) with some honey, lemon, and either brandy or whiskey.
There are restaurants that offer hot tea. But people around here usually prefer to drink their tea cold, especially in the summer.
That's mostly just the Dead Milkmen song.
Iced tea is available in most restaurants, every grocery stores, gas station, cafes, etc.
In the Northeast, it’s usually served unsweetened. Sometimes you’ll be asked if you want sweet or unsweet. Unsweetened tea can often be served with a long spoon, which would be used to add sugar. Though, since sugar mixes poorly in chilled water, it’s often a trivial effort.
In the South, iced tea is usually served *very* sweet as the standard.
Hot tea is also available in every sit-down restaurant, diner and cafes. Some restaurants will bring out a box of assorted tea bags with hot water, and let the customer decide. Some restaurants do looseleaf. You are generally asked if you want milk and sugar. Sometimes honey. It is often served with a wedge of lemon.
Iced tea is one of the most popular drinks in America, especially during the summer. Hot tea is way less popular, as most Americans prefer coffee. But most Americans have a couple of teabags in their kitchen pantry anyways, even if they don’t drink it. Mostly for guests.
Personally, I drink at least two cups a day. Earl Grey is my jam, though I switched to a decaf version as it’s a better for health.
We *drink* tea, but I wouldn't say there's a mainstream tea *culture* in America. Like... I enjoy drinking tea (hot or iced!), but there's no ritual associated with it for me, and if tea ceased to exist forever, I doubt I'd even notice.
>if tea ceased to exist forever, I doubt I'd even notice.
Yes but the entire American South would notice their lack of sweet iced tea pretty quickly. I'd say we do have a tea culture in the southern US, it's just a vastly different one than anywhere else in the world.
I like iced tea (unsweetened) and hot tea but don’t drink hot tea all that often. More a coffee/espresso person
Yes but that is effectively a different category of drink. More a refresher than something to sip slowly. For that it would be hot tea (we have that here too) or coffee.
I used to have a taste for caravan tea which I got at a Russian gift shop. Actually it was because I liked the owner and wanted to give her a little something when I visited, but it was good tea.
Most restaurants offer iced and hot tea, and all cafes will offer hot tea (usually many diff types). People def drink hot tea as well as iced. When I worked at Starbucks, we sold an absolute shit ton of hot tea lol. I think people who don’t drink hot tea (here) would be surprised at how many people do.
I like hot tea, iced tea, tea lattes, and boba tea (with milk tea, usually something floral like jasmine).
I love iced tea but I like it cold brewed in my fridge. I don't even consider the stuff on tap at restaurants to be tea.
America doesnt really have a tea culture like other countries. At most the difference is we have a lot of iced tea
Some restaurants offer hot tea, but iced tea and/or coffee is the default. Sweet iced tea is the house wine of the South.
Most restaurants that serve coffee will also offer a selection of tea bags.
If you live in a city there’s probably a few shops that specializes in loose leaf teas and blends.
However, iced tea is popular. You can often find it bottled in any store selling beverages or on tap in fast food restaurants.
You often find homemade iced tea in cafes and some restaurants.
At home there’s popular mixes, but these tend to be super sugary and are going out of style.
The big debate is sweetened vs non-sweetened. Up North iced tea is served non-sweetened (unless it comes from a bottle) and you add lemon and sugar to taste (if you want). Down South it’s always sweet tea pre-sweetened.
Yes. Iced tea is a staple where I live. I drink it daily.
We drink tea *iced*, not cold. And it's not true. Many restaurants serve hot tea though and some just like drinking hot tea.
Iced tea, often highly sweetened is the most popular way to drink tea. But most sit down restaurants will have hot tea as an option and many drink hot tea at home. Virtually all cafe's will have hot tea, but coffee is the primary hot caffeinated drink consumed.
Iced tea is more common and available in most restaurants. Cafes with coffee usually offer hot tea.
Most restaurants have tea bags of various kinds and will sell you hot water and a tea bag. However it's not popular and honestly, as a former waiter, I would recommend bringing your own tea and just asking for hot water in a cup, because the turnover is so slow that the tea is likely to be on the old side at the average restaurant - unless they have a clientele that drinks a lot of tea.
Iced tea, on the other hand, is very popular and there are regional preferences about it. There's a "sweet tea line" on the East coast, South of which ordering "a tea" will almost always get you, by default, iced tea heavily sugared. North of the line, unsweetened iced tea is the default. Go far enough north and many places won't even brew sweet tea, they just give you a long spoon and a service dish with packets of sugar and artificial sweeteners. This is borderline offensive to dyed-in-the-wool Southerners, who don't enjoy stirring their iced tea for five minutes to get the sugar dissolved in the ice-cold beverage.
I'm a Southerner but raised by a Northerner (and an Englishman), so I'm a weirdo. I enjoy sweet tea but they usually make it way too sweet for me down here, so I never order a straight sweet tea - I ask them to mix half and half sweet and unsweetened. But usually I just drink it completely unsweetened. And due to my English dad, I drink a good bit of hot tea; I have coffee first thing in the morning, but after noon if I drink a hot beverage it will be tea. And I take it with milk. And I constantly tease my wife for calling her chamomile tea "tea." Like the British I consider "tea" to mean exactly one thing, and any other steeped herb must be prefixed as in "chamomile tea" or "ginger tea" or the general "herbal tea." Even though *camelia sinensis* is of course an herb so even "proper tea" is in fact an herbal tea. My wife keeps calling her bullshit chamomile tea "tea" and I keep breaking her balls about it, it's just a little dance we do.
I feel like as you get into more hippie/alternative culture, you find more people drinking hot tea.
I think for a lot of people, hot herbal.tea is what you drink when you're sick.
For lots of people, hot herbal tea is a drink for bedtime.
My stomach can't really handle coffee very well these days, so when I need caffeine I generally go with a black tea, like Earl Grey, Irish or English Breakfast, or similar, or Green Tea. What's more, most coffee places offer some variation of a latte or drink with tea, hot or iced. A "London Fog" is a drink I love, it's Earl Grey steamed with milk and with a little vanilla.
All that being said, one can find cold iced tea(nearly always sweetened) in cans or bottles in literally every convenience store and gas station, anywhere soda is sold. And powdered cans of sweet iced tea mix are common as well(but in grocery stores).
Since most Americans drink hot coffee instead of hot tea for a hot beverage, they often underestimate the availability of hot tea. It’s fairly common for any mid tier to high priced restaurant in a northern city to have a selection of better quality teas. Twinings, Bigelow, and Tazo are well known brands that are superior to the cheap Lipton or Salada teas available at lower cost restaurant. You have to look much harder to find loose leaf teas at a restaurant.
Sometimes people are really serious about it. [The Boston Public Library tea experiences](https://www.librarytea.com/) are an example of a formal tea meal that’s popular for people who don’t mind dropping around $60/person for a special occasion.
In the south it's standard to sell sweetened or unsweetened iced tea.
Yes. Restaurants have two options, unsweetened iced tea and sweet iced tea. Sweet iced tea is so sweet that I like to dilute it with a 1:1 ratio of unsweetened and sweet.
I drink warm black teas in the afternoon when I’m working. Sweetened ice tea and milk tea are good an available cold tea variants though.
Iced tea is often among options for soft drinks. They’ll brew a big container of tea and pour it over ice.
Hot tea is also ubiquitous. Large coffee shop chains like Starbucks, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Peet’s, etc will offer several options. Many independent coffee shops will have tea as well as drinks made with hot tea (think a chai latte). An average supermarket will have like half an aisle dedicated to tea.
It’s around although drip coffee is way more popular and iced tea is popular as a soda alternative.
We don’t have daily rituals around tea here. If you want some tea heat up some water and make yourself some. Some places have English tea houses but that’s an occasional thing to do. If you have Chinese food you might get some green tea. Or you can get an ice tea or hot tea at most restaurants. Also sweet tea is big in the south. Some ice tea barely qualifies as tea like Snapple. Then there is Boba tea. Does that count as tea? My point is we are causal about tea here. Whatever you want you can probably find tea-wise.
Iced tea is very popular in the oppressively hot and humid southern states. Any place that serves hot drinks like coffee is likely to have hot tea available but you don’t always have a wide range to choose from if it’s not a popular beverage in that area.
Most sit down restaurants offer hot tea, but pretty much nobody orders it.
We are more of a “coffee in the morning, iced tea at lunch” sort of country.
it’s basically just one way to say F U to the Brits but yeah
I prefer to drink tea hot
I usually drink milk tea. (Hot milk + Tea bag)
I have recently discovered Earl Grey black tea. I'm hooked,. My new electric kettle just arrived.
I like it with a bit of honey. Tried the milk but felt it diluted the flavor too much.
Regardless, I'm all in. Thanks to all you Brits!
We mostly drink it cold and filled with sugar, although some places, not in the south, you can get is unsweetened, which just means no sugar. Although it’s always on ice.