Monday, August 4, 2008

The Great Tea Controversy

Nothing, and I do mean nothing, is sadder than a glass of iced tea caught in an identity crisis.

You know what I mean. You're at a banquet, or poorly run restaurant, and they think to save money and hassle, they'll brew all their tea in one big batch, chill it unsweetened, then let the poor, hapless customer sweeten it at the table. Banquets are particularly gross about this, and Southern caterers should know better.

The result: A bitter glass of cold tea with a huge glop of undissolved sugar at the bottom.


If you like unsweetened tea, fine. I think you're weird, but drink it plain and chilled if you like. But don't (caterers, restaurateurs and hosts take note) try to shill off a cold glass of unsweetened tea and tell me to dump a slew of sugar in it tableside and be happy. Sugar will not dissolve in cold liquid, therefore, you can never get the flavor of sweetened tea in a cold glass of liquid.

That's basic science.

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is taking the pulse of the nation on this subject in what they're pinning as a survey on The Great Tea Controversy. It seeks to find out if people want to add that resevoir of undissolved sugar to a glass of cold tea or if they prefer iced, sweetened tea the way God intended it: Brewed, then liberally sweetened when the tea is scalding hot and therefore cabable of permanently dissolving the sugar uniformly throughout the drink. Then, and only then, is it chilled in preparation for serving.

Here endeth the sermon. Detractors' opinions welcome, but you're wrong.