Origins of Tea
Tea's history dates back over 5,000 years in ancient China. Legend has it that Emperor Shen Nong discovered tea when leaves from a wild tree blew into his pot of boiling water.
Tea's Spiritual Journey
Originally consumed as a medicinal brew, tea's popularity grew due to its incorporation into Buddhist rituals. Monks used tea to aid meditation, spreading its use across China and later Japan.
Imperial China's Tea Culture
During the Tang Dynasty, tea became China's national drink. The period saw the creation of the 'Tea Classic' by Lu Yu, the first comprehensive treatise on cultivating, making, and drinking tea.
European Encounter With Tea
Portuguese priests and merchants encountered tea in the 16th century in China. However, it was the Dutch who first imported tea to Europe, making it a lucrative trade commodity.
Tea Sparks Revolution
The British imposition of the Tea Act in 1773, which taxed American colonists without representation, led to the Boston Tea Party. This act of defiance became a catalyst for the American Revolution.
Innovation in Tea Production
The 19th century saw major innovations like the 'tea clipper' ships for faster transport. In India, British planters started tea plantations, while the accidental discovery of tea fermentation led to black tea.
Global Tea Varieties
Tea's journey created a rich tapestry of varieties. China's Pu-erh, Japan's Matcha, India's Assam, and Sri Lanka's Ceylon, each with unique processing methods and flavors, reflect tea's global impact.