Monday, 21 April 2014

How Tea Came About

Welcome back my fellow learners, today we are going to learn about that much unappreciated drink tea.

In 2737BC there is a Chinese legend that states that the Emperor Shen Nong sat beneath a tree for a quick rest, he took a few leaves off said tree and mixed it with water to quench his thirst. This Emperor was so impressed with the taste he actually invented tea. However, this cannot actually be proven, so its a moot point. But tea did actually originate from China in the southern province of Yunnan. It was originally used as a therapeutic beverage in 206-24AD under the western Han dynasty. This became part of their daily lives, however, only the rich could afford to drink it, just goes to show, some things never change.

Anyway, it took years but finally in 618-907 in the Tang dynasty, tea finally became available to the masses. It came in the form of sugar like cubes, which needed to be ground into powder before being added to boiling water. Water and sugar was unheard of in those times, so they added salt or spices depending upon taste.

In the Ming dynasty, tea as we know today was finally born, however, not in bags marked with a brand name, no, the tea went back to its original form of leaves, which were then in turn added to hot water.

The Chinese finally realised that this was like gold and began to export it in the 10th century to its surrounding countries, then to Europe. It was sent via boat to Holland in 1606. It wasn't until 1653 that England and France finally jumped on to the band wagon. The first English man called Thomas Garraway in 1657 first served tea in his London cafe. This proved to be an instant hit, and soon overtook coffee in the English person hearts.

Due to the high demand, China could not keep up with the ever growing demand for tea. The British then introduced tea to other countries such as India in 1834, and Ceylan in 1857.

So it just goes to show, that Great Britain, the nation of tea drinkers, did not actually introduce this beverage to the world after all.

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