According to Chinese legend, Emperor Shen Nung drank boiled water to maintain good health. In the year 2737 B.C. the Emperor was resting near a tea tree. A breeze gently transported some leaves into the hot water. The result was a delicious brew that refreshed him. Whether this is a myth or a true account of how tea was discovered, we’ll never know.
What we do know is that during the Han Dynasty (206 B.C – 220 A.D.) tea was given its name, Cha.
Originally, tea was prepared as a medicine using green leaves from wild tea bushes. Demand began to outstrip supply so farmers cultivated the tea bushes and developed a processing system. The popularity grew and tea began to be traded to other countries.
By the Tang Dynasty (618-906 A.D.), tea was drunk for pleasure and the infamous tea ceremony developed.
The Dutch and Portuguese traders were the first to introduce tea to Europe. Tea became a hit in Russia and England. And eventually made its way to America causing quiet a fight over the taxing of tea.
Tea has remained a popular drink throughout the US and the world.