The origin of tea drinking dates all the way back to China around the 2700 B.C., where its earliest references are connected to the mythical emperor Shennong, who is said to have tasted hundreds of wild herbs, including tea leaves, to study and learn about their medicinal value. He is regarded as the father of Chinese medicine and agriculture.
During the late Han dynasty around the 1st century B.C., the book “The Divine Farmer's Herb-Root Classic”, attributed to Shennong, includes references about tea. This suggests that even at this early point in history much knowledge about tea had already been accumulated.
Tea was initially used for its medicinal properties and was primarily consumed by monks and the aristocracy. Over time, tea drinking spread among the general population, and various methods of tea processing and brewing were developed
In 59 B.C., Wang Bao, of Sichuan Province, wrote the first known book entitled “A Contract with a Servant”, this book provided instructions on buying and preparing tea, and it was the first written reference to tea utensils. In this time tea was an important part of their daily diet and also it was a commonly traded commodity. Tea drinking was a luxury enjoyed by the elite classes of Chinese society.
During the Tang dynasty, around 760, writer Lu Yu wrote Cha Jing, or “The Classic of Tea”, in English, an early work on the subject. The book's opening passage is about tea's origins in the south, showing that this has been a long-held theory.
Tea was introduced to other parts of the world through trade and cultural exchange. Chinese travellers and merchants brought tea to Japan, Korea, and other neighbouring countries, where it became an important part of their cultures. In the 16th century, European traders began importing tea from China, and tea drinking soon spread to Europe and other parts of the world.
Today, tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, with various types and flavours available, including black tea, green tea, oolong tea, white tea, and many others. Tea has a rich history and cultural significance in many countries, and it continues to be enjoyed by millions of people worldwide.
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