Austrian Quirk: Warm Iced Tea

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Iced Tea in a California Restaurant

Even though I miss so many Austrian dishes here in California, I also missed many American items in Austria this summer. One of these items was iced tea. A drink that is taken for granted here and is common in more or less any restaurant and even fast-food place is not to be found in Austria. And I never did miss it before I moved to California.

True, Austrian supermarkets sell and some restaurants serve Eistee, which literally translates to “ice tea.” But there is nothing iced about it and I doubt that it includes much tea if any at all – at least it does not taste like tea. The closest American drink to an Austrian Eistee is an Arnold Palmer or maybe those Snapples drinks but just not cooled. As all soft drinks in Austria, Eistee is also served at room temperature.

Eistee is never made at home as it is in the States, and the idea of brewing black tea and then serving it over ice cubes seems pretty ridiculous to most Austrians [I tried it and earned a lot of odd looks especially since ice cubes are not commonly found in Austrian freezers]. My best option in Austria was to just switch to beer – easier to get and usually served cold. Now back in the U.S., I savor iced tea from the sit-down restaurant to the drive-thru. And since regular iced tea does not exist in Austria, I did not even attempt to find sweet tea. And yes, Popeye’s is also something I missed in Austria.

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Sweet Tea from Popeye’s