The History of Tea
Legend – The history of tea is shrouded in the mists of time and began in 2737BCE when Emperor Shennong was boiling a pot of water and a leaf from a nearby tea bush fell into his pot.
Western Zhou Period (1046 to 771BCE) – Tea was used as a ritual offering.
Prior to 800 BC – Tea was mainly used as medicine .
Chu and Qiu Period (770-476BC) – Tea leaves were chewed for the flavour of tea juice.
Han Dynasty (206BC – 220AD) – Tea turns from a medicine to a drink during the early part of the Han Dynasty. A simple form of processing tea was developed during this period and tea leaves were pressed into ball shapes and stored. The balls where then crushed, mixed with other ingredients such as green onion or ginger then boiled in pots.
Jin Dynasty (265-420) – Tea goes from being a delicacy for the nobles to a drink for the masses.
Tang Dynasty (618-907AD) – People started to take their tea more seriously with specialized tea implements developed and tea literature such as the famous “Literature of Tea” by Lu Yue written. Tea cakes also became popular during this period.
Song Dynasty (960-1279) – Tea production takes off and China is exporting tea throughout South East Asia and the Arab world along the Silk Road.
Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) – Tea was kept in a loose form not balls and brewing tea not boiling became the fashion towards the end of that period.