Brew yourself a pot of tea and take a little journey with me. I’m going to give you a brief history of tea. The history is vast and complex but I’m taking a quick peak into it today.
All tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which according to legend originated in China. Tea was originally used as a medicinal beverage until the 3rd century when cultivation for daily drinking began. The legend goes that Chinese herbalist and emperor Shennong was out with his army and during a rest stop, a servant boiled his drinking water to ensure it was clean. A leaf from a nearby tea bush fell into the water and went unnoticed. The emperor loved it and it became a super popular drink in the region. From then on, the tea plant spread like wildfire across the globe.
the road of tea
From the Silk Road to the East India Company, tea travelled through Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It was brought to Europe in the 18th century, where it became a huge commodity, especially in the United Kingdom. Since, it has been the most popular beverage in the UK. The English then spread their tea traditions to their colonies and sure enough, tea became a global phenomenon.
Today there are over 3,000 verities of tea. Each have their own unique characteristics depending on the region in which they are cultivated. The most common tea verities are black tea, white tea, green tea and oolong tea, all of which come from the same Camellia sinensis plant. Herbal tea comes from herbs and other plants that are not Camellia sinensis, such as chamomile, rooibos, lavender, rose, etc.
There you have it, a brief history of tea. I find it fascinating. It has changed cultures in so many different regions and it’s still going strong, what a gem. I’m interested to see how it continues to evolve and affect humanity. I dedicate much of my life to it and I’m not sure I’d want it any other way.