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Monday, December 21, 2020

History of tea in China

The tea plant Camellia sinensis has been grown in Southeast Asia for thousands of years. The history of tea dates back to ancient China, almost 5,000 years ago, before the Christian era. According to Chinese mythology, it was the emperor Shen Nung who discovered tea in 2737 BC. Shen Nung was an early emperor, scholar, herbalist and the Agriculture of God in posterior.

He was immediately interested in the pleasant scent of the resulting brew, and drank some. Shen Nung named the brew "ch'a", the Chinese character meaning to check or investigate.

In ancient China, tea was considered as a medicinal remedy for headache, body aches and pains, depression, immune enhancement, digestion and detoxification; as an energizer and to prolong life.

In ancient China, Imperial Dragon Well tea, tea only for the Emperor, was carefully picked by young virgins using gold scissors to cut the first leaf, which were placed in golden baskets.

The earliest physical evidence of the human cultivation of tea is from an ancient archaeological site in present-day Zhejiang Province, a place called Yuyao Tianluoshan. The site, first discovered in 2004, is believed to be 6000 years old (4000 BCE).

The first book about the serving of tea has been written in Emperor Sen period(59 BC) of former Kan era. The first reference to tea is written by Kien Lung in the fourth century, who described the medicinal effect of the tea plant and its preparation.

The ancestors of the present-day Bulang people are often credited with being one of the first peoples to harvest wild tea. The present-day Bulang people reside on the ‘tea mountains’ of Sipsongpanna.

In the Tang Dynasty (from 618 to 907), tea drinking customs spread to all parts of the country, and the scope of tea production areas was further expanded. The ruling classes advocated tea drinking. At that time, there were more than 50 tribute tea categories and an orderly tribute tea system was formed.

The Book of Tea written in 780 AD makes reference to the West Lake area as a tea producing area. West Lake Dragon Well tea leaves are still hand-picked today and dried and in summer the first newly picked leaves are usually saved for the villagers.

In the Song Dynasty (960 - 1279), tribute tea was further developed. At that time, tribute tea houses were also established in Fujian and other places to specifically manage the related matters of tribute tea production.

Towards the end of the 17th Century, the century in which tea first began to make a regular appearance in Europe.
History of tea in China


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