The history of iced tea is unknown: it seems to be one of those things that turned up and was all over the place. Some recipes date back to 1861 and 1877, while some claim that iced tea wasn't invented until the 1904 World Fair. - I wish I had been there. At the 1904 World Fair foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, ice-cream waffles and iced tea were 'first' introduced to the world. All the newest technology (like an automated type-setter! Can you imagine?) could be found in a 15 by 15 km Fair in Louisiana. It sounds so amazing! I wish we still had World Fairs today.. (or at least Food Fairs!)
But let's focus on iced tea. One of the things that really surprised me about the iced tea is this: the recipes for iced tea haven't changed at all! I mean, a recipe from 1877 is the same as a recipe you fill find on the internet right now. For most recipes you will find a shift in the ingredients: less sugar, less salt or less fat (most of them were needed for preservation reasons). But iced tea remains the same - with only 3 ingredients perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised.