Posted February 13, 2014 12:20 pm

How Burl Ives ruined tea

Burl Ives

The voice of the snowman gliding around wearing a vest, pocket watch and carrying an umbrella. He was Mr. Holly Jolly Christmas.

Long after he was Big Daddy and tortured Elizabeth Taylor on screen in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and after he lent his voice to narrating Christmas cartoons, Burl Ives set his path to ruining tea for me.

For around twenty years, Burl was the pitchman for Luzianne Iced Tea. He convinced a whole generation that Southerners drank Luzianne, not Lipton, and his tea was specially brewed to go over ice. (I'm not making it into a big enough deal, because he was on TV when I was a kid - ALL. THE. TIME. Like 24/7, but before we used the term 24/7.)

What was it three or five years ago that tea started being the big thing again? Green tea happened and the cool kids were drinking it like it was Jim Jones's special jungle juice. Then there was white tea. Then there was 50 Shades of Grey and her special morning tea. I took a little longer to jump on the bandwagon but I've settled on black tea that tastes wonderful but costs TOO much because I'm used to paying Luzianne prices for tea.

Back to Burl Ives.

Since I've been drinking the specialty teas, I found that each bag (or tea sachet) cost 100x more than a single Luzianne tea bag, but tastes 1000x better. No research has led me to believe that at leaset 50% of those specially-brewed-for-iced-tea bags must be filler. Like sticks or ground up regular leaves, like Oak and Maple, but not real tea leaves.

The cheap tea tastes terrible now. And if Burl Ives hadn't been a smoker and killed all his taste buds, he'd probably agree and regret the two decades he spent ruining tea for me.

The End.