The Origins of Tea

Discover the origins of tea with tea journeys.

The Origins of Tea

The history of tea began thousands of years ago. Although many might think that tea is a traditionally British drink, it is believed that the first mentions of the beverage originated in southwest China around the 2nd century BC. However, the official birthplace of its history is said to be the Yunnan Province of China.

According to the ancient records, Yunnan is where people first started including tea in their diets. The legend has it; Shen Nong (2700 BC), a famous Chinese emperor was enjoying a bit of boiled water under a tree when a leaf fell straight into his cup, which started the brewing process, visually changing the water. Curious, the emperor took a sip out of his cup. He was immediately amazed by the fresh taste and apparent healing qualities of the beverage.

Another legend states that Shen Nong had a transparent stomach and so he tasted hundreds of herbs every day in search of those with strong medicinal properties by observing how they passed through his stomach. After consuming the tea leaves, he found out that they helped in counteracting poisons and passed through his organism with ease. To this day, tea is called ‘Cha’ – checking for poison, as stated by Shen Nong.

The first mentions of tea are that of green tea. The oldest known black tea is Lapsong Souchong ,dating back to 1600s, around 5000 years after the discovery of green tea. Its method of preparation is among the most interesting ones in the entire tea industry. All because the leaves are dried above pinewood fires, giving the beverage a smokey taste like no other.

Tea is the oldest beverage known to our kind, originally used as medicine and then further as an object of trade by the Britons, who brought it from China to India to grow for sale around 1770s. It was cheap and it was quite literally everywhere, pushing ale and gin off their pedestal and quickly becoming the most popular beverage among the lower-class English men and women. Tea has been everyone’s favourite for far longer than anyone can imagine.

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