The fascinating history of tea

It’s the first thing you look out for when you wake up every morning. You always look forward to it for an instant boost of energy. Yes, we are talking about the cup of tea that often brings people together and makes friends out of enemies. Whether you like it white, green or black, have you wondered how it reached your drawing room? Let’s trace down the history of tea.

The origin of tea

There are many myths associated with the origin of tea without any basis like the one which claims that it was discovered in China in 2737 BC during the rule of the emperor Shen Nung. However, historians opine that tea drinking was common in China during the Han dynasty, 206 BC – 220 AD. Tea containers found inside tombs built during the Han dynasty made historians to believe that tea was a common drink in China. The name Chai or Cha originated in China. However, it took several more centuries to establish tea as the national drink of China. This happened during the Tang dynasty, 618-906 AD.

The journey of tea

The journey of tea began from China. Japanese Buddhist monks who visited China came to know about tea and it was introduced to Japan. Soon it became a vital part of Japanese culture. The famous tea drinking ceremony also came into practice during this time.

From China to Japan and then to Holland- the tea came a long way. The Dutch introduced tea to their own country during the latter half of 16th century. They established a trading post in Java and from there brought tea to their country. From Holland it became easy for tea to win the hearts of the Europeans.

Britain took some time to warm up to tea. East India Company, which enjoyed monopoly over importing goods from other countries, first brought tea from China.

Tea continued to be very expensive and taxation made it dearer. Wide scale smuggling and adulteration became common in England and other countries. By 1784, government slashed down the tax levels and tea became cheap and its popularity also increased.

The journey of tea is as fascinating as its history. The love for tea made countries to open trade routes, China became popular as a tea exporter and later on with the colonization of Indian subcontinent Indian tea became famous.

The love for tea has only grown with the years with people finding new ways of enjoying it. Today, tea has established itself as the most popular beverage of the world.

So, next time you enjoy your cup of green tea or Chai tea Canada, think of its long journey and raise a toast to it.

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