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About Tea

History of Tea

Shen Nung
The most written story of the origin of tea is the story of Emperor Shen Nung who lived circa 2737 BC. The emperor is famous not only as an emperor, but also as the Divine Healer.

The story says that tea discovery by the emperor was incidental when the first leaf of a tea plant in his garden fell into a hot water being boiled by him. When the leaf was brewed in the hot water, a pleasing aroma was immediately emanated, enticing the emperor to drink it. Not only the aroma was pleasing, the astringent and bitter flavor created by the tea leaf was also likened by the emperor because it was believed to make body refreshed. According to his research, tea drinking could cure some diseases.

Since then, the Emperor Shen Nung frequented tea drinking, and tea became very popular all over China.

Daruma

Daruma was the introducer of Zen Buddha teachings (also called the Father of Zen Buddha) in Japan circa 600 AD. Several versions about tea plant discovery in Japan were connected with him.

Legend says that Daruma who was studying Zen Buddha could stand sitting in meditation without falling into sleep and closing his eyelids for seven years (some said 9 years). Other version says that Daruma sat in meditation without moving at all until his legs were paralyzed. The most extreme legend says that Daruma deliberately cut off his eyelids to prevent him from sleeping during his meditation. The eyelids fell into the ground and, still according to legend, a miracle happened on where they fell. There, the first tea plant in Japan grew. That made Daruma famous for his two very large eyes as icon and made as popular puppet in Japan.

When you have a chance to be in Japan, allow some time to buy this kind of souvenir.

Lu Yu

For the first time in 780, a scholar named Lu You collected and documented findings of benefits of tea into a dedicated tea literature title Cha Cing or The Classic of Tea.

The book described that “tea is a drink that lifts our spirit, pacifies our hearts, opens our minds, prevents drowsiness, makes our bodies light and fresh, and increases our thinking capacity.”

Ming Dynasty

With a small adaptation, Chinese traditional wine pouring jug with lid became a perfect tea pot.

Letter of Cha

Tea and its variants in the world have a single source for its spelling and writing. “Te” means teas in Amoy Chinese. In national Chinese, tea is spelled with “cha.”

GLOBAL TEA SPREADING

Silk Route

During the administration of Han, Tang, Soon and Yuan dynasties, tea commodity was introduced to the outside world (from China) through cultural exchanges, spreading across Middle Asian to European continent along with trading of silk (known as Silk Route).

East India Company

East India Company (“EIC”) is a British company in India established by Queen Elizabeth I on December 31, 1600 with the objective of monopolizing trades in East India. In 1669, the company got a license to import tea from China to UK using Elizabeth I ship. It clinched the tea monopoly until 1833.

Boston Tea Party

In 1773, EIC was allowed to bring tea from China directly to America by cutting trade route and tax jurisdiction, an unfair competition for European exporters as well as American importers. This made Boston people angry, and they expressed their anger by throwing all containers full of tea into the sea. This incident was known as BOSTON TEA PARTY and led to the American Revolution against British colonization.