Based on research, historical accounts on tea were first mentioned in 222 AD where it is listed on the Biblical Timeline Chart with World History. This gives us insights into how this famous beverage was first discovered and used in ancient times. There were stories in Chinese mythology relating to the discovery of tea as early as 2737 BC by the Emperor Shen Nong, who reigned during the San Huang Period. This man was a well-known scholar, and he invented the herbal medicine of the Chinese. According to myths, Shen Nong ordered his servants to boil water, which he established as a practice to ensure the purity of drinking water. While the water was still boiling, some dried leaves fell into it, which resulted to the brownish shade of the water as the leaves were infused into it. After the emperor had drunk this rather strange-colored liquid, he found it to be rather refreshing. The tree where the leaves came from was a wild tea tree. Hence, the origin of tea in China.
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Tea as Mentioned in Chinese Texts
In 222 AD, tea was first mentioned in various Chinese writing. It was noted as an alternative to wine, and numerous Chinese began the practice of drinking tea. During the third century tea became more popular for its health benefits, although it was the nobilities of Tang Dynasty that considered tea as a “fashionable” drink. It was also during this time that there was an increasing demand for tea, which also boosted the cultivation of tea instead of harvesting the leaves from various wild trees in the country.
The Popularity of Tea in China
During the Sung Dynasty beginning 960 AD, the powdered form of tea became popular among the people. Tea drinkers also made use of ceramic accessories such as cups and pots with black, brown and dark blue glazes. These designs were sharp contrasts to the well-loved green color of tea that they drank.
By 1101, Emperor Hui Tsung came up with a text that described some techniques on how to prepare whisked green tea. He was one of the notable patrons of tea. He also had some tournaments that involved court members who were required to identify the different tea types. It was during his reign that teahouses were built in various natural settings.
1206 marked the start of the Yuan Dynasty, and numerous territories in China were conquered by Kublai Khan and Genghis Khan. It was not too long after the invasion of China that a Mongolian dynasty was established. At this point in history, tea was no longer just for the nobilities, but it was also enjoyed by the average person as it became an ordinary beverage.
In the Ming Dynasty, people developed a new way of preparing tea, which was by steeping whole tea leaves in boiling water. This technique has led to the pale color of tea, and white ceramic cups and pots became more preferred by tea drinkers.
Throughout the years, people still enjoy drinking tea, and the popularity of this beverage spread from China to various parts of the world.
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