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From the Earl Grey of England to the Matcha of Japan or even the Darjeeling Tea of India, you now have access to different teas, each having a personalized taste. Owing to its taste and mind-soothing essence, tea is now the second most-consumed drink in the world, preceded by water. History of tea dates back to 2732 B.C. when Emperor Shen Nung discovered tea leaves by mistake. This origin of tea was in ancient China, almost 5.000 years back. Lu Yu has mentions the story of tea in his work - ‘The Classic of Tea’. For Japan, the story of tea started when Saicho, Eichu, and Kukai introduce this beverage for the first time.
All five varieties come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, native to China. There's another species, Camellia Sinensis Assamica that originated in the Indian state of Assam. Along with these traditional teas, people drink several other drinks made from different kinds of plants. Since they taste similar to traditional tea, these are also known as herbal teas or tisanes. Rooibos tea, chamomile tea, peppermint tea, and lemongrass tea are some of the most popular herbal teas.
Here, we’ll focus on traditional teas and learn more about the history and origin of the tea. What’s the history of tea? Who did the invention of tea? Where is chai origin? Where did tea originate? How did it become so popular? Let us start the discussion by talking about the origin of tea.
Here are some of the countries and their story of tea-
The British Empire played a huge role in building the history of Indian tea. It was the British East India Company that brought tea into the limelight in India. According to the history of Indian tea, a renowned English botanist, Joseph Banks, suggested that tea plantations would flourish in India. On his recommendation, a consignment of Chinese tea seeds was brought to India for cultivation in 1780. Robert Kyd led the experiment of cultivating tea on Indian soil.
A few decades later, the bushes of Camellia Sinensis Assamica were discovered in the Upper Brahmaputra Valley by Robert Bruce. He was very intrigued by the plant growing in the wild. And for the first time in the history of tea, one Indian Tea plant was sent to England. Though the Chinese variety couldn’t bear the heat of Assam, the native variety flourished. This gave rise to the tea production in India under the British. As time passed, tea plantations flourished, even for commercial purposes in India. Kumaon, Darjeeling, Garhwal, and Kulu led the way! This started the story of teaproduction on an industrial scale in the history of Indian tea. Today, India has 13,000 tea gardens with a workforce of more than 2 million people, making India one of the top contributors of tea production on a global level.
Though the story of teastarted in China as a medicinal drink, it’s now a popular beverage all across the world. From being part of England's tea-party culture for wealthy socialites to being part of the American Revolution and the First Opium War, the story of teahas prevailed across centuries.
A few stories suggest that the Dutch sailors played a major role in putting tea on the world map. It was they who took tea to North America, Holland, and France in 1610(approx). Back then, tea was marketed as a luxurious product, so only the rich merchants had the privilege of enjoying it. They were the ones who changed the story of tea from being a medicinal drink to a recreational beverage. The British also played a major role in making tea popular. It is mentioned in the history of tea, that the British started cultivating tea the First Opium war. This happened because China refused to trade tea for opium with the British. And so to cherish this 'wonder drink,' Great Britain set up commercial cultivations in its colonies like India and Ceylon, turning it into a global product.
The contributions of scientists and botanists are unmatched when it comes to popularizing tea's history and giving it a global identity, rather than constricting it to China.
Though there isn't concrete proof behind this, there are mentions of specific incidents that might have resulted in the invention of using milk with tea. According to the history of tea, Jean Nieuhoff, a Dutch traveller, was first to taste tea with milk way back in 1965, in a banquet arranged by Chinese Emperor Shunzhi in Canton.
Another story of teasays the British were the second to use milk in tea. They used to do this because teacups back then were so delicate that pouring hot tea into it made them crack. So, to prevent the delicate dishes from cracking, Britishers started pouring milk into the cup and then adding the hot, brewed tea. This way, the milk would cool off the tea's temperature and prevent the cups from cracking. The people of England follow this tradition even today while preparing the tea.
Though there are many stories about the history of tea, almost every single one of them narrow down to the fact that it was the Emperor Shen Nung of China, who discovered this beverage. It is said that a dried tea leaf somehow blew into a boiling broth, which was being prepared for the emperor. He was so impressed with the smell that he decided to taste some of it.
Though China is considered as the most famous country as far as the story of teagoes, not all tea comes from there. Only Camellia Sinensis has its origin in China out of the two main species of tea. The other variety, Camellia Sinensis Assamica, is native to the region of Assam, India. Other than China and India, countries like Sri Lanka and Kenya also produce tea on a large scale. Together, they form the top 4 tea producing countries.
Judging by the rich history of tea, it's evident that this loved drink has come a long way. From being a medicinal drink to a popular household drink, the story of teais as exciting as its taste. So, it can be rightly said, no matter which country is responsible for the origin of tea, it thas has cult-following all over the globe.
Teacurry.com hopes that you thoroughly enjoyed the above research we have tried to put together in terms of history and origin of tea. In case of questions or suggestions please let us know in comments below or write at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be more than happy to assist you.