According to legend, tea was first discovered in China over 4,000 years ago by Emperor Nun Shen. One day, whilst visiting the far regions of his realm, he and his servants stopped to boil some water over a fire. A breeze blew the topmost leaves of a nearby tea tree into the pot releasing an inviting aroma. The Emperor tasted the refreshing beverage and was beguiled.
The popularity of tea spread throughout Chinese and Japanese culture. The first book on tea, ‘Cha’a Ching’, was written in the 8th century by the Chinese author, Lu Yu. This definitive manual described the cultivation and preparation of tea. Before long tea became China’s national drink. In Japan tea was elevated to an art form with the creation of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. It is also associated with Zen Buddhism, due to its early use in meditation.
Tea was first introduced to Europe in the 16th Century by Dutch traders. Tea became a globally traded commodity when the East India Company was established in England. This popular beverage soon became an English institution. Tea remains one of the most popular beverages in the world today. All types of tea (green, black etc.) today come from the same Camellia Sinesis plant.