Tea is a product that has its roots in China, but it’s now consumed all over the world. In fact, tea is said to be the most consumed liquid across the globe. It’s regarded as an important beverage because of its many health benefits.
So, when was tea discovered? Tea has a rich history that dates back to many years ago. Tea is believed to have been brewed for the first time in 2737 B.C when dried leaves found its way into a boiling cup of water that was meant for ShenNung, the Chinese Emperor. ShenNung was a disliked Emperor who was removed from power and ordered to stay out of the country. On his way out, he felt thirsty but had no money to buy any drink except water.
One day when he was relaxing under a tree, a gust of wind dropped some few leaves into his cup of boiling water. ShenNung found the blend to be interesting and for the next 7 years of his life he stayed under the same tree drinking his newly discovered beverage.
The History and Origin of Tea
As mentioned earlier, tea was first discovered in ancient China around Yunnan and Sichuan mountains. The legend has it that the disliked Emperor of China, ShenNung first discovered this awesome drink when some unknown leaves fell into his cup of hot water. Surprisingly, the Emperor had a habit of visiting various parts of the country investigating and documenting the effects of drinks made from the berries, seeds and leaves of several different plants. The emperor discovered that tea had medicinal effects. Apparently, he had consumed poisonous herbs that made him to have stomach problems. To his surprise tea helped him to cure the condition.
Tea drinking and tea itself become a very important part of the Chinese economy, especially during the 616 and 907 (Tang Dynasty). 616 to 907 is a time when the merchants from the Middle East travelled to China to obtain tea, porcelain and silk. Over time, tea drinking turned out to be a common practice in Asia, Europe and even the U.S.
Before tea was discovered in Europe, Chinese had already discovered and consumed it for many years. In ancient China, tea was believed to be a very special drink because of its many health benefits. In fact, tea was later used as a religion offering in China. Due to the fact that tea was a rare product then, it was only the rich who were able to consume it. Luckily, many different types of tea plants were discovered during the Tang Dynasty period. As a result, tea was now available in large quantities and everyone could now afford it.
It’s wise to note that tea was available in form of bricks during the Tang Dynasty period. There were no tea factories during these days, so tea leaves were crushed and hard-pressed into a mold and then dried. Tea was prepared by placing a small portion of the brick into boiling water. Green tea was prepared using powdered tea. The method of preparation involved pouring hot water over powdered tea. If you do this, the tea would change into a foamy beverage. The idea of using tea leaves to prepare tea spread all over the world. It was during this time when the Japanese priests staying and studying in China come back home with the good news. They shared the news with other priests and taught their followers how to prepare tea.
Tea is also used as an important brew for meditating by the Buddhists. The caffeine found in the tea helps them to stay awake during this process. The Japanese popularize the health effects of drinking tea by organizing an event known as the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The Japanese Emperor loved tea so much to an extent that he procured tea seeds and had them planted in Japan so that everyone could access it.
The English discovered tea in the 17th Century when King Charles the second married a Portuguese princes by the name Catherine of Braganza. What’s interesting is the fact that many people believed that tea was a British drink, but the truth is, tea become popular in England because of princes Catherine.
Currently, Asia is the biggest produce of tea. About 80 to 90 percent of all tea consumed in the world comes from Asia, mainly from Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. India is presently the biggest tea producing country in the planet. About 30 percent of the tea consumed in the planet comes from India. Tea was first introduced into Africa; mainly East Africa at the beginning of the 20th C. Tea is currently one of the most important cash crops in East Africa, especially in Kenya.
Today, there are many different types of tea flavors available, and each country has its own history of tea drinking. So, find the flavor that suits you and start enjoying this amazing drink that was discovered accidentally in 2737 B.C.