Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Beverage: The History of Tea

According to an ancient Chinese legend, tea was discovered by the Chinese emperor Shen Nung in 2737 B.C. Leaves from a wild tea bush fell into a pot of his drinking water as it was being boiled. He enjoyed the flavor of this brew, perhaps the world’s first cup of tea.

For centuries the tea plants in China provided all the tea there was in the world. Then in the 9th century A.D., Japan began to grow tea from plants imported from China.

Traders from Europe sailing to and from the Far East in the 16th century began to bring back word of an unusual Oriental beverage called tea. The first European book mentioning tea was published in Venice in 1559. But it was not until 17th century that the Dutch began bringing tea to Europe in any quantity. By the 18th century, tea had become England’s national beverage. In 1823 tea was found growing wild in India by a British Army major named Robert Bruce. In the next few years many tea plantations were established in India. In 1839 eight chests of tea, the first ever to come from India, were auctioned in London. The price was as high as US$ 10 a pound. But it was not until 1880 that tea became an important part of India’s economy.

The first tea on the islands of Indonesia was planted about 1684. But on the islands of Ceylon coffee was the chief crop until a few years following 1869. Starting that year, a terrible blight attacked the coffee trees and gradually killed them all. Since the farms had to be planted all over again, tea was planted instead of coffee. Today tea is Ceylon’s principal crop.

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Anastasya said...

Many Chinese people have been drinking green tea for centuries for all the positive aspects that it brings to your health.

Suray said...

You right!! Green tea is not fermented, thus keeping in the powerful antioxidants lost in the fermenting process.

Ritchie said...

According from other resource that I have known, the study of black tea - instead of green or herbal varieties - found it helps cut levels of the stress hormone cortisol circulating in the blood.

Suray said...

Thanks Ritchie for your informative comment. I will write another post that discuss more about tea. It's very interesting topic.

Billy said...

Great history. Actually green tea is also good for losing weight and many other things that western science is just trying to catch up with.

Andrea said...

Health is the reason why people consume tea.

Suray said...

I agree with you (billy). Consuming tea can help us losing weight.

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