The story of the history of tea begins in 2737 B.C. While Chinese Emperor Chen Nung sat in the shade of a tree, leaves from the camellia sinensis or tea plant fell into his boiled water. He tasted this drink and declared that it gave vigor of body as well as contentment of mind. The legend of tea begins here.
Tea seeds traveled from China to Japan. Buddhist priests while studying in China enjoyed tea there. When they returned home they brought seeds from the plant with them.
Tea in Japan was first used exclusively by Buddhists priests. Japan is known for the ceremonial tea of the temples.
Over time it became the favored drink of the whole nation.
Dutch and Portuguese traders brought tea from China and Japan to Europe. The beverage then spread to many other areas. Tea made it's way to Britain, France, Germany, Holland and other countries.
According to tea history, native tea trees were discovered in the Upper Assam area of India. Some of the highest quality teas are grown there. Darjeeling is one of these special teas. Today India is one of the world's largest producer of tea.
Most American children learn of the Boston Tea Party at a young age. Not so much as a history of tea, but as a history of their nation.
Colonists were angry over so many taxes levied by the British. They disguised themselves as American Indians. Then they threw the cargo of tea from England over the side of the ship.
What may surprise many are the other two things America brought to tea history. A tea plantation owner introduced Iced Tea to the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. It was just too hot for people to be interested in his tea booth where he was offering hot tea.
He came up with the idea of adding ice to his beverage and a new drink was born. 80% of the tea we drink in the United States today is actually iced tea.
The United States is also the birthplace of the tea bag. Thomas Sullivan in an effort to save costs sent his tea samples in silk bags. The bags were less expensive than tea tins normally used.
Customers receiving the samples thought they were to drop the bag containing the leaves in the water. Requests came in for more of the bags and the tea bag was born.
Although the tea bag was good for merchants it wasn't really good for tea quality. Good quality tea leaves must have a lot of room to unfurl and release their flavor.
Eventually good quality tea leaves were no longer used in favor of the dust and fanning's. Dust and fannings are the lowest quality of tea.
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