Tag Archives: sweet tea

7. Sweet Tea, in the Biggest Glass You Can Find

1 Dec

A Southern friend was dining with me in Seattle and made the following observation: “If you ask for ‘sweet tea,’ they look at you like you’re retarded, but whenever you order iced tea they bring sugar.” Conversely, if you order “tea” in the South, be prepared to answer this question: “Sweet or unsweet?” (sometimes shortened to “Sweet or un”) Note that “sweet” is always the first option.

So why do Southerners prefer pre-sweetened tea? Duh!

When you add sugar to hot tea, it dissolves. Which means the sugary goodness is evenly dispersed throughout the beverage. When you add sugar to iced tea, you can stir it all day long and never get the stuff melted. This is why Southerners who would normally eschew artificial sweeteners will resort to using them in unsweetened iced tea. It’s the only way to ensure even sweetness throughout.

I should note that if you order tea in the South, expect it to arrive in a tall glass (or mason jar) filled with ice. If you prefer a hot beverage, order coffee.

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