History Of Tea

Tea has an interesting history of over a few thousand years ever since it was discovered. We quote here every path-breaking landmark that gradually evolved this drink as the most favorite beverage on the planet, and what we call today ‘our cup of tea today’.

yearly year

2737 B.C.E
Tea first discovered in China by the Second Emperor, Shen Nung. The new drink was known as the Divine Healer then.
350 A.C.E
The first description of drinking tea is written in a Chinese dictionary.
The demand for tea rose steadily. Rather than harvesting leaves from wild trees, farmers began to develop ways to cultivate tea. Tea was commonly made into roasted cakes, which were then pounded into small pieces and placed in a china pot. After adding boiling water, onion, spices, ginger or orange were introduced to produce many regional variations.
Turkish traders bartered for tea on the Mongolian border.
T'ang Dynasty. Powdered Tea became the fashion of the time. Nobility made it a popular pastime. Caravans carried tea on the Silk Road, trading with India, Turkey and Russia.
Poet Lu Yu, wrote the first book on tea, making him a living saint, patronized by the Emperor himself. The book described methods of cultivation and preparation.
The Buddhist monk Saicho brought tea seeds to Japan from China.
Sung dynasty. Tea was used widely. Powdered tea had become common. Beautiful ceramic tea accessories were made during this time. Dark-blue, black and brown glazes, which contrasted with the vivid green of the whisked tea were flavored.

Before 16th Century

Emperor Hui Tsung wrote about the best ways to make whisked tea. A strong patron of the tea industry, he had tournaments in which members of the court identified different types of tea. Legend has it that he became so obsessed with tea he hardly noticed the Mongols who overthrew his empire. During his reign, teahouses built in natural settings became popular among the Chinese.
Eisai Myoan, the monk who brought Zen Buddhism to Japan, returned from a trip to China with tea seeds, which he planted on the grounds of his temple near Kyoto. Eisai experimented with different ways to brew tea, finally adopting the Chinese whisked tea.
Yuan Dynasty. Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan conquered Chinese territories and established a Mongolian dynasty in power for more than a century. Tea became an ordinary drink, never regaining the high status it once enjoyed. Marco Polo was not even introduced to tea when he visited. (Visited where?)
In Japan, Eisai wrote a small book on tea, elevating its popularity further.
Ming Dynasty. People again began to enjoy tea. The new method of preparation was steeping whole leaves in water. The resulting pale liquid necessitated a lighter color ceramic than was popular in the past. The white and off-white tea-ware produced became the style of the time. The first Yixing pots were made at this time.
The Japanese tea ceremony was created by a Zen priest named Murata Shuko, who had devoted his life to tea. The ceremony is called Cha No Yu, which means "hot water for tea."

17th Century

The Dutch brought tea to Europe from China, trading dried sage in exchange.
Chinese ambassadors presented Czar Alexis with a gift of several chests of tea.
Tea was first sold in England at Garway's Coffee House in London.
The Taiwanese began to drink wild tea.
Charles II took Catherine Braganza of Portugal as his wife. They both drank tea, creating a fashion for it. Its popularity among the aristocracy causes alcohol beverages to fall from favor.
Close to 150 pounds of tea were shipped to England.
Traders with three hundred camels traveled 11,000 miles to China and back in order to supply Russia's demand. The trip took sixteen months.
In Taiwan, settlers of Formosa's Nantou county cultivated the first domestic bushes. Dutch ships carried the tea to Persia, the first known export of Taiwanese tea.

18th Century

The yearly importation of tea to England grew to approximately 800,000 pounds
Wealthy American Colonists developed a taste for tea.
The famous Boston Tea Party, protesting high taxes that England levied on tea, began the American colonies' fight for independence. Under cover of night, colonists dressed as Native Americans boarded East India Company ships in Boston Harbor. They opened chests of tea and dumped their contents into the water. This was repeated in other less known instances up and down the coast.
England sent the first opium to China. Opium addiction in China funded the escalating demand for tea in England. Cash trade for the drug increased until the opium wars began in 1839.

19th Century

The East India Company established experimental tea plantations in Assam, India.
An Imperial Edict from the Chinese Emperor closed all Chinese ports to foreign vessels until the end of the First Opium War in 1842.
A small amount of Indian tea sent to England was eagerly consumed due to its novelty.
Clipper ships, built in America, sped-up the transportation of tea to America and Europe, livening the pace of trade. Some ships could make the trip from Hong Kong to London in ninety-five days. Races to London became commonplace; smugglers and blockade runners also benefited from the advances in sailing speeds.
Tea was planted in many areas of Darjeeling.
Tea plantations were started in Ceylon, though their tea would not be exported until the 1870's.
A deadly fungus wiped out the coffee crop in Ceylon, shifting preference from coffee to tea.
The Suez Canal opened, making the trip to China shorter and more economical by steamship.
Twining of England began to blend tea for consistency.

20th Century

Trans-Siberian railroad made transport to Russia cheaper and faster. Java became an important producer as well.
Richard Blechynden created iced tea for the St Louis World Fair.
Thomas Sullivan invented tea bags in New York, sending tea to clients in silk bags which they began to mistakenly steep without opening.
Sumatra, Indonesia grows and exports tea. Soon thereafter, tea is grown in Kenya and other parts of Africa.
The Taiwanese government encouraged its population to drink tea, revitalizing tea culture on the island.